Getting the itch for a flea market

By Janice Podsada

Herald Writer

LYNNWOOD — When Marvin Anthony looks at an empty parking lot stall, he sees the perfect spot for a colonial dining table and a pair of matching captain’s chairs.

And the clawfoot bathtub? It’ll look nice next to the speed bump.

Interior decorating begins with the great outdoors.

"A parking lot is the perfect place for a flea market, "Anthony said.

South Snohomish County will see its first big flea market, Bizarre Bazaar, July 8 at the Edmonds Community College parking lot.

On that date, Anthony and the 300 vendors he hopes to attract will set up their wares in a campus parking lot near 68th Avenue W. and 200th Street SW.

Unlike some arts and crafts fairs, a flea market is open to almost anyone with something to sell.

Visit a flea market and you’ll not only find arts and crafts, but everything from baseball cards to furniture, jewelry, antiques, "N"-scale model trains or the contents of the neighbor’s garage.

"We’ve had shoe vendors and computers for sale," Anthony said.

Vendors aren’t required to obtain a retail license for a flea market if it’s something they do only two or three times a year, Anthony said.

"People clean out their garage and bring the stuff to sell here," he said. "That’s great."

The flea market will also feature food vendors and entertainers.

Anthony, a California transplant, has been organizing community flea markets for 15 years.

Must recently, he organized an indoor flea market at Bellevue Community College, which has been held the first Sunday of every month since January.

With summer in the forecast, BCC’s flea market is moving outdoors — where else but into the parking lot.

Anthony, a business consultant and stay-at-home dad who has sold baseball cards at flea markets in California, decided he could make them more attractive to buyers, sellers and browsers.

His behind-the-scenes organization and trademark gimmick — free door prizes for kids — has made the BCC flea market a success. Each Sunday it has drawn about 2,500 people.

Anthony hopes to duplicate that success in the Edmonds-Lynnwood area.

When Anthony toured south Snohomish County, the first thing he spied was a big parking lot with shade trees, an indoor gym and a parking lot empty on Sundays.

The fee for an Edmonds Community College stall is $35; but Anthony said he will provide free stalls to nonprofit groups such as churches and schools, groups that benefit the homeless and health organizations.

Flea markets are for misers and the monied. They can set you back a few cents or a cool thousand. It just depends on what’s for sale, he said.

The most money that Anthony and his wife ever dropped at a flea market was $1,000.

"But we ended up with the perfect antique armoire."

You can call Herald Writer Janice Podsada at 425-339-3029 or send e-mail to

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