The launch Saturday of a flea market in the parking lot at College of Alameda wasn’t exactly spectacular. Perhaps it was the holiday weekend, perhaps the fog and chill, or the maybe it’s simply too soon for word to have spread, but the sparse number of vendors we’re packing up to leave by 1:30 p.m.
Can’t blame them. As business people, they need customers. In the early afternoon there were very few. As in, maybe six or eight people. Maybe a crowd came in the morning, but if it did, something must have changed significantly in the afternoon.
But, hope springs eternal. A man, who seemed to be a customer, was telling his friend, who seemed to be a vendor (it was so quiet that some vendors were taking breaks away from their booths) that it just needs time.
“It’ll grow,” he said. “More people will hear about it and it’ll catch on.”
It certainly caught on at Laney College, where the same operator runs a swap meet. But there is more competition in Alameda, with yard sales, the monthly antique fair, and thrift and antique shops. While it’s tempting to hark back to the days when hundreds of people roamed around the former drive-in parking lot (now a housing development near Marina Village) bargaining and buying everything from dishes to furniture, our market may just be glutted.
We’ll hope for the best. Interested consumers need to bring a buck to get into the weekly Saturday sale. Maybe next week there will be more interesting items; the opening day mainly offered belts, wallets, purses, food and a sprinkling of used electronic items. If we are to hark back to the thriving flea market of our past, we’ll need more in the way of furniture and other household items.