You just can tell that something is different when walking into Garry & Lea VanBaren's booth at the Shipshewana Flea Market. There is a friendly sort of feel, not to mention everything is neat and tidy, plus, it is chocked full of amazing variety items for great deals like boxed cards, coloring books, Webkins, and gifts!
This week, I had the chance to do a vendor spotlight interview with GW Sales. Lea and her husband Garry (who are 73 and 75 years old respectively), own GW Sales, which is on two different spaces across the flea market(857-859 and 152/178). Read below to see my interview with Lea!
- How did you get started at Shipshewana Flea Market?
We started selling here years ago when it was owned by Robert Lambright after we lost everything when our two Ben Franklin stores went broke and closed. All we had was our house, a car, and $1000 dollars that Mom gave us. With that moeny, we bought inventory and rented space here.
33 years later, I now rent 5 spaces here at the flea market, own 2 homes (one in Demotte, Indiana, and one in Florida), and a Park Model!
Our whole family has been part of the flea market at one point or another. At one time, we had four generations out here! Now, my grandson Jason, who runs the booth on space 152/178, is gearing up to take over the business.
- How has the market changed over the years?
It used to be a lot stricter on vendors because it was so competitive. For example, if your set up was one inch over the line, you got in big trouble and maybe even got told to leave!
- What kind of products do you sell?
We have always sold a variety of items. We buy factory overruns, then pass the savings on to our customers. If something doesen't sell well, I mark the price down and stop selling it.
I've been selling Christian greeting cards for 25 years. There are several from Warner Press - meaning they were made right here in Indiana at Anderson College!
Some items that you'll find for great bargains this year are boxed greeting cards, garden flags, coloring books, shepherds hooks, rods, toys and giftware.
- What's your favorite part about being a vendor?
I love talking to people. I especially love seeing customers come back, because then I know that I did a good job. I treat people with respect, and feel very close to some of my customers. It keeps me active and I get to be with people. I even like inserting my religion once and a while.
Lea would love to have you shop her booth at the Shipshewana Flea Market every Tuesday and Wednesday (plus special holiday extended markets)!
Want more information about vendors at the 2017 Shipshewana Flea Market? View and print the official vendor directory.