An upstart flea market is gunning for a piece of a tchotchke juggernaut’s market share.
The new bazaar called Flea Market Betty is opening on two vacant lots in Williamsburg next month and will be duking it out with borough artisanal-sales behemoth Brooklyn Flea for knick-knack supremacy. The opening salvo came last weekend when Brooklyn Flea management alleges it caught Flea Market Betty reps handing out flyers to vendors at its Williamsburg market and kicked them out. For now, though, Brooklyn Flea big Eric Demby is maintaining a poker face about the new competitor.
“We generally welcome new markets, especially when they come up with an original take on markets and find a new vein of vendors that make what they do unique,” said Demby, co-owner of Brooklyn Flea.
Flea Market Betty founder Jill Pescatore, a Connecticut real estate agent, doesn’t deny the subterfuge, but swears she is not trying to compete with the established company’s four weekend markets.
“We are much smaller and there is room for everyone,” she said.
But if any small-batch maple syrup sellers are looking for new opportunities, they know who to call.
“We welcome vendors from all area markets,” she said.
Pescatore will set up shop next month on two vacant lots on Havemeyer Street near Metropolitan Avenue, nine blocks from Brooklyn Flea’s spot in Williamsburg Park, also known as 50 Kent. A family member of Pescatore owns the Havemeyer Street land and had been using it for private parking lots.
Pescatore dreamed up the idea a few weeks ago and convinced her kin to renovate the plots and let her open up the bazaar.
“It was a spur of the moment decision,” Pescatore said. “We can create something fun and it will do better than the parking lot.”
Flea Market Betty will initially be open only on Saturdays and Sundays, but Pescatore plans to eventually expand to include a night market, a mid-week farmers’ market, and a holiday market. Pescatore hopes to attract 60 vendors per day, offering booths for $150 per day for non-food vendors and $250 for food vendors. So far, she has about 20 sellers on board, she said. Catering company Artistic Tastes is among those planning to serve up treats to hungry fair goers.
“We do not have a restaurant, so we wanted to have an avenue to show people what we make,” said company owner Andre Robinson, who is a chef at the Plaza Hotel.
Artistic Tastes focuses on “modernizing street food” and plans to hawk dishes such as truffle macaroni and cheese, fried Brussels sprouts, and handmade sausages, Robinson said.
Flea Market Betty will open for business on Saturday, July 5.
Flea Market Betty (87 Havemeyer St. between Metropolitan Avenue and Hope Street in Williamsburg). Saturdays and Sundays, starting July 5.