And it feels so good.
I became aware of the pending existence of Portland’s newest vendor-driven marketplace some time in March, and was devastated to find that I could not go to there IMMEDIATELY, as it would not open its doors for another four weeks. So I waited. I bided my time, occasionally checking the website to see if maybe they moved opening day up a couple of weeks. Because that is totally something that brand new businesses do all the time, right? Change their opening date just for the heck of it?
Alas, my fervent wishing turned out to be for naught, and the Portland Flea-For-All opened for business on April 14th as scheduled. Somewhere in the distance, the sound of my own excited screaming could be heard as I skipped merrily all the way to 125 Kennebec Street, cash-money in hand, ready to get my flea market ON.
If I seem a tad obsessed with flea markets, well, alright. Would you believe me if I told you that I was raised by flea markets? No? That’s not…possible? The truth is, I just love the concept of flea markets. The idea that anyone can compile a collection of things, whether they be old, broken, or crafted for the purpose of selling, and have a place where they can go to sell those things to people who DO want them is somewhat magical to me. I’ve been hooked on flea markets ever since 10-year-old me bought herself a real mink stole for 50 cents. Looking back, the thing was kind of horrifying. It had a face. I think I even named it. Even so, I saw something in the dead eyes of that mink, and a lifelong passion for flea markets was born.
The Portland Flea-For-All lived up to my expectations and then some. One of the many delightful surprises about the place was the fact that, rather than sprawling tables piled high with items to sort through, both floors of the building contained carefully curated booths that were manned by their (extremely friendly) sellers. Items for sale ranged from racks of vintage clothing to bicycles, from records to hand-crafted jewelry, from Maine-built furniture to fancy hats. Needless to say, I was in heaven, even considering the distinct lack of 50-cent mink stoles.
What the Flea-For-All lacked in taxidermy, it made up for with its wonderful sense of community. Everyone in the building, customers and sellers alike, were excited and happy to be there. Vendors could be seen visiting each others tables, talking excitedly about the excellent opening day turnout, perusing each others offerings, and generally reveling in the spirit of the day. For someone who usually treats her shopping time as Strictly Business (get in, try on, get out), it was a nice change of pace to be able to simply hang out, take it all in, and enjoy the the Flea For All as a whole.
While I was sad to leave (which I did, eventually), my sadness was lifted by the knowledge that the Portland Flea-For-All is open every Saturday and Sunday, AND has a rotating selection of vendors, so it will be like a shiny new experience every time!