A sea of shopping humanity poured through the doors for the Grand Opening of the Bristol Indoor Flea Market filling the once vacant building with shoppers, onlookers and the curious this weekend.
The sight of a filled parking lot end to end has not been seen at the Bristol Park Shopping Center since Walmart left the shopping center unceremoniously at the end of 2017.
That changed, and “hopefully for good” Kristin Jennings of Falls said as she with friends and family, entered the shopping area for the first time hearing the hustle and bustle of flea marketers buying amid the array of offerings.
The “Grand Opening” took over discussions on a number of local social media pages all day Saturday and Sunday.
Market Coordinator Tony Soprano attributed the ongoing discussions and anticipation about the doors opening for the turnout.
“I expected the turnout to be big. I didn’t expect it to be so huge. I truly believe the two month delay has a lot to do with it. It created more anticipation, more buzz and even though some of the buzz was negative everyone just couldn’t wait to get in here!,” Soprano said.
Prof positive came in the form of shoppers showing up throughout the weekend for the vendors selling antique, vintage, used household, crafts, handmade items and new merchandise. Soprano said we had over 300 vendors for the opening weekend with room for more.
Vendors Kevin and Karen of K&K Collectibles agreed with Soprano’s assessment.
Its been a mob scene all morning, the husband and wife collectible sellers said. We first signed up in January when flea market was announced and wondered what the delay was and the anticipation grew and and grew until all you wanted to do was just be here.
Stephanie Leighton, of Bristol Township’s Goldenridge section, a frequent shopper at flea markets said “Overall, it was wonderful to have it there and so close. My issues were definitely parking but that’s to be expected on a grand opening. All the vendors were super nice that I spoke with. The prices on some things were a bit high. But there was so much good stuff, I could just move on until I found more reasonable prices. And I sure found some treasure!”
Yes, there were complaints most if not all about the traffic and challenge of finding a place to park, as Veterans Avenue had traffic backing up all the way to the 7-Eleven and with volume heavy on Rt 13 from Bath Road.
“It was rough out there for minute as we were trying to find a spot to park in. We wound up all the way over by Ollies, Dan Gilmore from Levittown said. “We were about to give up but someone was pulling out as we grabbed the spot up” he said.
As shoppers and vendors discussed, often negotiated prices on items, a paid private armed security team walked the market greeting customers, providing help and one case helped a shopper locate a lost wallet quickly, Harry Mearing, President of the security company said.
Bristol Borough Police were also on hand, much in the same way Tullytown Police Department patrols the Levittown shopping center.
The 120,000 square foot space, vacant for years, had little room to navigate at times as row after row of vendors greeted shoppers, and shoppers did the same warmly.
Familiar shop owners from the area who rented spaces at the flea market were on hand too.
“We just wanted to come back out into the community to see how it goes and build the business back up like we had on Mill Street,” vendors Katonya and Sandra G. of Gift Boutique said, as they showed off hand made gift baskets specializing for mothers and fathers day, for example.
Shopper Karen Gladu of Bristol said “I bought a lot of stuff today. It was really nice No arguments. No attitudes, everyone was really welcoming.
For those who needed a shopping break and a snack, a food court was available and remained mostly filled for the day with treats from Anglina’s Bake Shop and Sal’s Italian Deli.
As you entered or exited, there was a table with information from shops and businesses in the area with staff greeters helping answer questions and assist potential vendors.
Soprano said a portion of the vendors present were not monthlies, so he expects a number of new sellers for next weeks market.
“We’ll have a lot of different vendors in here next weekend” he said.
On future plans, since as originally reported, Bristol Indoor Flea Market was on a short term lease, Soprano said, Infinity is how long we plan to be here.
“I see no end”, he said.
Editors Note: Here’s a Link to the Photo Gallery Posted on the Lower Bucks Source Facebook Page. More images will be added to this story and the gallery tomorrow.