Flea market benefits museum

Paulina Lawton of Grand Haven held up a wild Hawaiian shirt for her friend, which she thought he could use. "I have like 40 (of those),' said Reggie Harper of Ferrysburg. "It would be 41.' "I don't think you have enough,' Lawton said.
Mark Brooky
Jul 16, 2011

The two friends were shopping among the dozens of vendors selling a variety of goods — mostly used, but some new — at the Community Flea Market held Saturday in the parking lot of the Ottawa County Courthouse in downtown Grand Haven. It was the second of the three markets hosted by the Tri-Cities Historical Museum this summer.

Harper said he looks for old “snurfers” — wooden snowboards once made in Muskegon that he uses to surf down sand hills and dunes — and occasionally finds them in area flea markets and garage sales.

“I break about one a year, so I’m always in the business of finding more to break,” he said.

Shirley Lees, the member services coordinator for the Grand Haven museum, said the Friends of the Museum group uses the fees from vendors — $15 per parking space or $25 for two spaces — to purchase needed items for the museum. She said 40 spaces were sold for Saturday’s market, and each vendor typically takes 2-3 spaces.

One of the vendors, Terry Cressman of Whitehall, praised Lees’ work in organizing the markets. He said he’s glad the fee is donated to the museum and thinks it isn’t enough.

“I would like to see her take maybe 10 percent of the (vendors’ sales),” Cressman said. “... We will offer that to her because I think it’s going for an outstanding organization.”

To see the photo gallery of the Community Flea Market, click here.

Cressman was selling bags of Jane Lee’s Gourmet Glazed Popcorn — named for his wife, Jane, and culled from an old recipe from her Czech-Slovak-Hungarian family tree, he said. They’ve sold nearly 20,000 bags in the two years they’ve been making the treat, the Cressmans said.

Lynn Baker of Grand Rapids utilized several parking spaces for her Lynn’s Traveling Boutique. She said the weather-dependent sales were slow Saturday morning, despite the sunshine.

“I’ve been doing this 42 (years) and I’ve always thought, in the back of my mind, that sometime I can’t do this because it’s a lot of work,” said Baker, who aspires to be a professional photographer. “I do something almost 3-4 times a week. I have shows that I do every year. I do the antique shows, I do craft shows, and I do horse-and-tack shows.”

Baker said she also works at a car auction two days a week and takes care of her elderly mother in the Ludington area at least once each week. But she’s slowing down. Last year, she quit a job at a drug store after working there 42 years.

“Some of my friends will say, ‘Do you want and go do something? I’m so bored,’” Baker said. “And I thought, ‘Bored? I can’t even imagine saying that word.’ But life is good — it really is.”

Lees said the first museum-sponsored Community Flea Market was held seven years ago with 12 vendors. Having the exposure of facing both Washington and Franklin avenues in front of the courthouse steps has been great exposure, she said.

“It draws a lot of attention, and we hope that everybody does sell a lot and is successful,” Lees said.

This year’s first market was held June 18. The next market is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20.

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