Sellers Flee Pickens Flea Market After Price Hikes
I haven't seen any of the local papers reporting on the recent increases at the Pickens Flea Market that have hit produce sellers especially hard.
This past Wednesday when I went ... several dozen tables were empty as sellers deserted what many call "the new side" after the rate increase.
Table rent increased from $7 to $11 inside the covered "shed" areas and from $6 to $8 on the "outside tables".
That amounts to a 63.6% increase for the inside areas.
Many sellers that I interviewed said that they could understand an increase to $8 or $9, but the steep sudden increase especially for those that have multiple tables poses a difficult financial burden - especially with the decreased sales in light of the current economy.
Many sellers were most upset about the short notice that was given - only one to two weeks. Concerns are also being raised about the new "cancellation policy" for "inside/covered spaces". A seller wishing to sell in the covered area must now pay one month in advance and cannot cancel even if rain, snow, or "no activity holiday" such as Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. Also, if a seller does not show by 7:30AM the table will be placed back into a pool for repurposing to another seller.
Sellers were told that the reasoning for the rate increases was to build new sheds and make improvements.
The Pickens jockey lot is well known for flooding. There doesn't seem to be much that can be done, as it's built in a flood plain right next to a large river ... it will be interesting to see the enforcement of the cancellation policy if the market is under water one Wednesday morning.
Sellers expect that there will be even less "vendors" in October once the new policies begin to affect everyone.
(A number of sellers were already paid up through September at the previous rate.)
Call the Bargain Exchange and let them know what you think:
Bargain Exchange Flea Market of Pickens
1449 Walhalla Highway
Pickens, SC 29671
Phone: (864) 878-4762
The Pickens Bargain Exchange Flea Market (the newer side) is open Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
The "new side" (closer to Six Mile) and the "old side" (closer to Pickens) are owned and operated by different parties ... the rate increases apparently have not affected the "old side" at this time.
The "old side" is called The Pickens County Flea Market.
The rates on "the old side" remain at $6 for an outside table and $7 for a "covered/shed" table.
The "old side" is currently offering FREE table rent on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Their contact information:
The Pickens County Flea Market
1427 Walhalla Hwy
I plan to have an interview to discuss this soon.