|By Nancy Kelly LANSING, Mich. — It was the hottest day of June but that didn’t melt the enthusiasm of the dealers or the crowd at the monthly Mega Mall outdoor flea market. Held the 3rd Sunday of each month from April through October, this large event hosts 100 vendors and hundreds of shoppers. Mega Mall owner Rich Kelley said the break down is about 70 percent regular dealers and the rest are folks cleaning out their basement or downsizing their collections. The selection of items was impressive, and the variety was appealing. Everything from antiques, collectibles, furniture, tools, toys, clothing, and potted flowers were all available. Several vendors encouraged shoppers to “make an offer” on items to provide further temptation.
Old wooden furniture items were seen in several booths that had been given a new lease on life with a bright coat of paint and new hardware. However, Bruce and Mickie Ellison took the furniture recycling to a new level. Using cast off items such as wooden bed frames, doors, windows, and shelves, “Papa’s Woodshed” (their business name) reassembles the items, paints them, and offers completely new designs. There were two examples on display in their booth. First was a wooden bed frame that was cleverly cut apart and transformed into a corner bench. The bed posts were strategically located as hand rests and it was a very comfortable seat. It was tagged $125. Second was a glass window that was attached by a hinge to a single shelf unit tipped on its back to provide a coffee table with a top that could open to display collectibles.
Several folks stopped by the Farmbrook Designs of Lansing booth. This 18-year-old business featured many interesting figures cast from concrete. The pieces are suitable for indoor or outdoor display and are sturdy enough for year-round exposure. The mushrooms, fountains, planters, hearts, and more had an appealing rough texture and were available in a natural gray color or tinted with a special concrete pigment. When asked which his favorite piece was, the owner pointed to the elaborate lantern which stood about 16-inch tall and was marked $99.
One booth hosted a table packed with brass candle holders, lanterns, and vases. They ranged in size from three to about 20-inches tall and came in several shapes and finishes. The owner very much enjoys brass items, but he can’t keep them all so some were offered for sale. When asked which his favorite piece on the table was, he quickly picked up the tall round candle holder with a broad base and said it is was from an older piece from Sweden. It bore a price tag of just $5. He commented that if he had a matched pair of them they would be worth $100 as a set, but then he probably wouldn’t be selling them.
New, used, and vintage items were all represented. New tools and antique tools were offered, numerous displays of CDs and DVDs provided great discounts on used media, and even metal road signs were plentiful. One dealer featured a greater percentage of antiques than most, and her booth offered a wide range of quality items. As she wiped her brow she said that she wasn’t sure how much more she was going to unload in the heat. Her display included a nice selection of cast iron toys and other items. One was a rooster that had been part of an electric lamp and could be used as a decoration on his own. Another was a fascinating cast iron wall mounting fixture whose flat base had been used to support an oil lamp. It was intricately designed and very attractive, priced at $30.
A table piled with used valve handles hardly sounds interesting, but the colorful display drew many comments and purchases. The seller explained that people find several uses for them, from drawer pulls to decorative designs that feature the valve handles as flowers. The red, green, blue, orange, and silver hues provided the opportunity to make just the right choice for a project. The seller had a steady supply and continued to bring them as long as people continued buying them.
Modern plastic toys were plentiful around the show, but some booths also featured vintage toys to rekindle childhood memories. One dealer had a table filled with metal trucks, boats, and trailers - many manufactured by the Tonka company. Taking up a large portion of the table was a 1950s Tonka red metal hook and ladder truck with the letters T-F-D and No. 5 printed on the side. The asking price was $175. He also offered a Tonka Fisherman truck, boat and trailer, a Texaco gas truck and gas pump, a green John Deere pick-up truck and a horse trailer.
Taking a quick tour around the grounds, some other interesting items included a globe-shaped floor stand with zodiac symbols decorating it that housed an ice bucket for $45, a beautiful light wood American Lifestyles secretary desk marked $75, a Mighty Thor Marvel Comic book large colorful framed poster for $10, and a vintage Grinnell portable turn table with case and handle for $20. Each booth offered unique items and many surprises. Prices were very reasonable, and items were priced to move. The event takes place in the parking lot in front of the Mid-Michigan Mega Mall building, and folks were able to continue shopping (and cool off from the heat) by going into the store.
Mid-Michigan Mega Mall hosts this outdoor flea market on the 3rd Sunday of each month from April through October. Starting July 19th, there will also be a “Junk in Your Trunk” event every Thursday from 4-7 PM. People are encouraged to pull into the parking lot and sell from their car trunk, or tables are available for rent. Events like the flea market and the trunk sales are great opportunities to find hidden treasures, complete a collection, or just find something useful for the house or garage.
For more information call (517) 487-3275 or visit the website at www.themegamall.net.