When Janey Sawyer first became a vendor at the Flipping Flea in Norge last July, she felt at home.
Sawyer, who collected Depression glassware at the suggestion of her mother, had collected too much and wanted to try her hand at selling the antique glassware, as well as some vintage jewelry.
She sold her items at bluegrass festivals and other fundraising events, but grew tired of carefully wrapping, packing, unpacking and hauling all the items.
She found a home at the Flipping Flea in the Colonial Town Plaza in Norge, setting up her own vendor booth at the flea market “with a twist.”
Now, that sense of home has translated into a new business venture.
On March 23, the Flipping Flea Too opened at 3044-4 Richmond Road through a partnership with the original Flipping Flea in Norge. Janey Sawyer and her husband, Danny, are the principal owners and managers of the location in Williamsburg.
“I just want them to be able to build on their talent,” Sawyer said.
The business is located in the old 5,000-square-foot Lightfoot Manor store location in Patriot Plaza.
The Flipping Flea Too will have its grand opening April 12.
On Thursday, Flipping Flea Too was full of hand-crafted gifts and goods, with more than two dozen vendors at various booths throughout the building. The building currently has about 30 booths.
The booths feature items from local vendors and artisans spanning a large spectrum: hazelnut candles made from cut-down liquor bottles, hand-sewn dog and Barbie doll costumes, homemade dog treats, beachy summer clothes and accessories and much more.
“A lot of times, it’s one of a kind,” said Nancy Lee, owner of the original Flipping Flea.
Sawyer also has her own booth at her store, called “Janey’s Treasures.” Some empty vendor spots have been temporarily filled with Sawyer’s glassware and other antiques.
Sawyer and her husband were in the Lightfoot Manor location in December for an estate sale when they fell in love with the building.
“The store was so unique on the inside,” Sawyer said.
The man running the estate sale suggested the Sawyers, a former military couple and retired civil service employees, rent the building.
At that point, the Sawyers went to Lee and her husband, Jeff, starting the conversation about opening a “second Flea,” Lee said.
Sawyer had found a welcoming, supportive community at the Flipping Flea, and she wanted to pass on the favor to more local crafters and artisans.
“She (Nancy) was so warm and enthusiastic about what she was doing to help other people,” Sawyer said.
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While they prepared to open their Flea location, the Sawyers bought racks and shelving from Kmart at it sold off its merchandise and display racks before it closed, repainting and repurposing them.
Vendors can rent the shelving and bookcases for an additional fee, which is based on the number of square feet of the booth and varies largely by an individual vendor’s needs.
The goal is for the Flipping Flea owner to be a vendor’s “biggest cheerleader,” Lee said.
The Flipping Flea stores also take 10 percent of vendor sales to cover overhead costs, such as bags and credit card transaction fees.
Preserving a legacy
Sawyer said she kept some of the building’s interior the same as a tribute to the former owner, Mary Lou Simpson of Lightfoot Manor.
There are faux building sides and shingled roof lines throughout the shop, some windows hung with curtains and accented by floral arrangements.
Simpson died the week before Thanksgiving 2018. She had operated the shop from 1981 to October 2018.
“It’s a part of her history,” Sawyer said. “I wanted to remember her by leaving it this way.”