Vermillion Realty Advisors has formed a Flea Market Division to focus on the acquisition of flea markets across the country. Additionally, VRA provides advisory services to existing owners looking to recapitalize or improve their operations.

Size of Flea Market Industry

The U.S. has over 1,100 flea markets that provide opportunities for approximately 2.25 million vendors conducting over $30 billion in sales annually.  Flea Markets are visited by over 150 million customers each year.  Flea Markets contribute to the local, state, and federal economy through real estate, food, sales and use taxes.

Industry Consolidation has Started

Ownership of flea markets across the country is highly fragmented, with most markets owned by “Mom and Pop” investors. Typically, these individuals have owned their markets for many years. As a result, these markets do not trade frequently, and any opportunities that come to market receive high interest from existing market owners looking to expand their holdings as well as from individual investors looking to enter this highly profitable and enjoyable business.

Flea Markets stable cash flows and attractive operating margins are now beginning to attract “Wall Street” capital. These institutional investors are looking for the next industry to consolidate and flea markets are becoming an attractive investment target.

Similar to what happened in the consolidation of the parking industry and manufactured housing communities, flea markets are in the beginning stages of consolidation. The highly fragmented ownership presents Wall Street investors the ability to accumulate significant properties over the next few years.

Market Stability and Sense of Community

Much of the flea market industry stability can be attributed to its dedicated veterans and the permanence of many markets. Of the markets surveyed, 70% of have been open for over 21 years. Of all vendors, 50% indicated they have been in the business for over 10 years. Over 50% of market vendors sell at just a few locations, demonstrating a sense of loyalty to their market and its community. The relationships and connections that are built at flea markets and swap meets are unique.

A strong mutual interest in free enterprise, being a self-determining business owner, and following the American Dream draws people together in the flea market industry. This bond keeps communities together and allows for individual market and vendor longevity. Flea markets are an important economic and social part of the communities they are located in, contributing jobs, income and injecting cash into the local economy.

The positive impacts that flea markets have on the area they serve are unique, and are just another dynamic that makes flea markets such an attractive long-term investment.

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