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Sydney flea market could close after 40 years

George Peters, owner of Bargain Hunters Flea Market, stands with Peggy Johnson, who has working at his weekly markets for more than 35 years, on Sunday inside the Centennial Arena in Sydney. It could turn out to be the last day for the flea market, which has been in operation for 40 years. Peters said he's hoping he'll find a new venue for next week so they can continue but fears he's run out of options.
George Peters, owner of Bargain Hunters Flea Market, stands with Peggy Johnson, who has working at his weekly markets for more than 35 years, on Sunday inside the Centennial Arena in Sydney. It could turn out to be the last day for the flea market, which has been in operation for 40 years. Peters said he's hoping he'll find a new venue for next week so they can continue but fears he's run out of options. - Nikki Sullivan

Bargain Hunters Flea Market owner says he can't find a location

SYDNEY, N.S. —

Sadness was a common theme among customers and vendors Sunday at what could be the last Bargain Hunters Flea Market in Sydney.

After 40 years of weekly flea markets, which started at the Sydney Shopping Centre in 1979, owner George Peters said he is closing because he can't find an appropriate location.

The Bargain Hunters Flea Market had been moving locations over the past few years, after being unable to continue using the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion during the winter. They set up shop inside the former Schwartz building on Vulcan Avenue then moved to the Centennial Arena after the sale and demolition of the building.

Summer Zablaska, 10, works the room at Bargain Hunters Flea Market at the Centennial Arena on Sunday. There with her grandmother Barbara Wells, Zablaska's grandfather John Wells was a founder of the flea market, which at one point took place at 12-14 locations weekly.
Summer Zablaska, 10, works the room at Bargain Hunters Flea Market at the Centennial Arena on Sunday. There with her grandmother Barbara Wells, Zablaska's grandfather John Wells was a founder of the flea market, which at one point took place at 12-14 locations weekly.

However, the flea market is unable to continue at the Centennial Arena due to other events booked and lack of heat in the building during the winter.

Peters, 77, said he's not giving up.

"We're still knocking on doors. We're still not giving up," he said. "It's not so much about us making money, it's about the vendors."

Family affair

For Rae Prusick and Calvin Warren, who've been vendors at the flea market for 38 years, the sadness isn't about lost revenue.

"It's a family affair," said 79-year-old Prusick. "It's a social thing as much as a way to make a bit of money. Well miss our friends the most."

Rae Prusick and her partner of 41 years Calvin Warren stand beside their booths at the Centennial Arena on Sunday during the last day of Bargain Hunters Flea Market. They have been vendors at the market for 38 years, selling CDs, original music, homemade slippers, jewelry and more.
Rae Prusick and her partner of 41 years Calvin Warren stand beside their booths at the Centennial Arena on Sunday during the last day of Bargain Hunters Flea Market. They have been vendors at the market for 38 years, selling CDs, original music, homemade slippers, jewelry and more.

Prusick sells a lot of her own homemade crafts and jewelry while Warren sells CDs of his own music, karaoke songs and country music. The only time the couple missed setting up booths at the flea market, which has been in 16 communities in Atlantic Canada, was four years ago when Warren, 86, was recovering from a heart attack.

"They're all our friends. Not just the vendors but also the buyers you meet. There's one lady, from Calgary, who comes back every year to buy my slippers," Prusick said.

"It's sad," said Warren, adding that flea market Sundays "are a day out to meet all your friends."

In between customers, Warren dances to his CDs while Prusick sells some knit dishcloths and jokes with other vendors and customers like Carol Keough from Sydney who would go to the market a couple of times a year.

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