By Larisa May
Fifth Street Flea, one of Phoenix’s newest vintage markets, is working to create its niche within the secondhand community, according to co-founder Tyler Stone.
Stone said the market doesn’t so much compete with other downtown second-hand markets, but rather it works with them to “contribute to the community as a whole.”
Stone co-founded the market in May. Its objective is to foster a “sense of community, as well as bring different people together.”
Sustainability plays a large part in this community. Second-hand shopping provides an alternative to buying new, mass-produced items that increase an individual’s carbon footprint.
“Just..bringing more people into the sustainability aspect of it and growing a part of our community,” Stone said.
Fifth Street Flea is part of a plethora of other local markets, such as Pickers Playground and Phx Vintage, which have the advantage of being more established in the area. These markets have popped up around downtown en masse, creating a potential supply and demand issue.
Fifth Street co-founder Taytum Graham said she doesn’t see these other markets as competition.
“I don’t really resonate with the word competing,” Graham said. “I feel like it’s more so just a large community.”
Like most flea markets, Fifth Street Flea makes its money by charging their vendors a basic fee to operate at their event, which helps cover the overhead costs of operating.
Fifth Street Flea charges vendors anywhere from $65 to $120 to set up shop for the event, depending on the table space size needed. Their location on 5th St. at Bud’s Glass Joint and Tap That Downtown costs them 50% of their revenue from each event hosted.
Stone and Graham don’t have any employees right now, and just run the market themselves, so they don’t need to worry about paying out salaries after their events. This savings allows them to focus on hosting the event and curating the space and vendor line-up, they said.
“I think this is so much more select, and it just really is direct to these customers that are looking for vintage and looking for good pieces, so I love that,” said Fifth Street Flea patron Ally Bellissimo. “If you’re into fashion this is where to be, for sure.”
Graham said one of the main challenges is to let the market grow from its current location.
"We definitely are looking to expand,” Graham said. “We eventually want the market to take over 5th Street as a whole.”
One thing that helps the markets expand is the vendors. Many vintage vendors, like Teddi Jackson, owner of The Hope and Vintage Shop, set up shop at several of the markets downtown.
In this open-air market, Jackson lays her items out on tables and hangs up vintage pieces on clothing racks for shoppers to peruse.
“It’s interesting because I sell at not just vintage markets but a lot of small business-focused markets in general,” Jackson said. “But what I find so much more fun about Fifth Street Flea itself than a lot of the other markets that I do is that they’re building a community here.”
Stone said that he wants to see the community grow so they can share their talents and foster more connections.
“We’ve been motivated by giving people a platform to share their creative ideas and passions,” Stone said. “So it’s our mission to just give people a platform to showcase their talents.”