Dinkytown hosts flea market for local vendors

Andy Skemp

Dinkytown stores and independent vendors displayed their wares on sidewalks Thursday morning as passersby and shoppers meandered from table to table under the sun.
In an attempt to add variety and bring in more business, the Dinkytown Business Association hosted a two-day flea market.
“We thought we’d try something a little different that adds business draw,” said Skott Johnson, Dinkytown Business Association’s marketing committee chair and owner of Autographics copy and printing center.
Cider, old speakers and sweaters woven in Central America were among many products available by the 13 independent vendors at the sale.
“We had the vendors send a description of what they were selling so there wouldn’t be any competition with the stores, or anything obscene or dangerous,” Johnson said.
Don Kleven, a vendor from St. Paul, said the merchandise he offers is becoming harder to find — especially for a reasonable price.
Kleven travels from auction to auction collecting rare antiques and electronic goods. From clothing irons to canning jars almost a century old, Kleven’s stand at the flea market took up more space than any other, covering three long tables along Fourth Street Southeast.
Across the street, Fred Harvey, owner of Homestead Orchard in Maple Plain, Minn., offered apples and cider to passersby.
Harvey said he often sells products at the Minneapolis farmer’s market, but chose to participate in this flea market because he often does good business near campus.
“I thought I’d try this out today because there’s tens of thousands of people right over there,” Harvey said, pointing toward campus.
Johnson estimated that Dinkytown business owes at least 70 percent of its sales to campus traffic.
Other Dinkytown events organized by the marketing committee include a farmers’ market, a street sale called Crazy Days and an art fair.
As with all its street sales, the Dinkytown Business Association acquired a selling permit from the Minneapolis Licenses and Consumer Services Department, though special permits had to be granted for all food vendors through the city’s health department.

Andy Skemp welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3238.