New Opa-locka indoor flea market hopes to attract displaced vendors

Robert Hundley

The reincarnation of the iconic Opa-locka Hialeah Flea Market place will not sell are living roosters, host beer-fueled salsa live shows or entertain children on party rides in the muggy South Florida warmth.

But planners are hoping that the hundreds of vendors, shortly to be displaced by the Sept. 30 closing of the iconic open-air market, can prosper indoors at the headquarters of Atlantic Hosiery, an Opa-locka apparel small business just up the road.

Inside the cavernous principal developing, personnel have hurried to obvious room where the corporation previously runs a retail outlet advertising panties, bras and other undergarments. Metal partitions have been erected, mapping out what will be aisles lined with 15-by-15-foot booths available for rent. Farther within, far more aisles will rise in which substantial bins stuffed with bras and pantyhose are now stacked as portion of the company’s wholesale company.

Atlantic Hosiery operator Daniel Whitebook is occupied consulting architects and contractors, video game arranging with Opa-locka town officers and fielding inquiries from anxious — and sometimes demanding — sellers who want key flooring space at excellent premiums. So far, he states, the booth rental rates will be a little greater than those people of the outdated flea industry, but for indoor spaces with air conditioning.

Some 250 sellers have already inquired, with about 60 dedicated with deposits. The company, which will be operated as a independent corporation referred to as the Opa-locka Hialeah Indoor Sector, must open up sometime just before the out of doors flea current market closes for good.

“The flea marketplace has a great deal of targeted visitors and we have experienced our retail store given that 1984,” said Whitebook, the longtime proprietor and operator. “It’ll improve our traffic and we’ll offer space for the folks. The two organizations could thrive.”

Wanting for inexpensive rents

Open due to the fact 1985, the Opa-locka Hialeah Flea Market place has endured together with numerous South Florida flea markets, thanks to online browsing and the redevelopment pressure. Even now, most of the 700-or-so distributors had been surprised when the market’s administration announced in late May that it was closing — and they experienced only a few months to vacate.

Suppliers have scrambled to find new digs. For quite a few, rents at standard brick-and-mortar properties are simply too large.

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Atlantic Hosiery staff members pack garments posts within a warehouse hooked up to their employer’s storefront. The enterprise is opening rental area to suppliers from the Opa-locka Hialeah Flea Market, who had been not long ago provided eviction notices. MATIAS J. OCNER [email protected]

Some reached out to the 7th Avenue Flea Industry in North Miami, a lesser identified place that has also fallen on hard periods in latest many years. The flea market place, open from Wednesday to Sunday, offers a vary of items, but specializes in elegance materials and hair dressers, many of them Haitian and Jamaican.

Agnes and Gyula Kis, the sister-and-brother crew that run the marketplace, shortly started finding inquiries from Opa-locka vendors. Gyula — a one-person procedure who normally takes care of maintenance, cleaning and even protection — started making ready areas that hadn’t had occupants in many years.

“We don’t have as lots of consumers as the Opa-locka flea industry has. Clearly, if all of our destinations are occupied, the circumstance would be far better, particularly if they are able to advertise on social media to entice men and women,” Gyula Kis reported.

For Opa-locka Hialeah Flea Sector vendors like Irma Moreau, going to 7th Street didn’t function at first — she only has far too much items: an array of comforters, bed spreads, curtains, women’s underwear, pots, pans, umbrellas, backpacks and more.

But she finally chose the smaller North Miami industry around Atlantic. “It was just as well costly,” she reported.

As distributors like Moreau publicly complained about the hurry to evict them, city of Opa-locka officials stepped in to assist broker a deal with Connection Logistics to allow them to remain till Sept. 30. And officials approached Atlantic Hosiery, which was founded by Whitebook’s father-in-regulation, Rubin Kloda, in January 1967.

“Atlantic Hosiery is a longstanding small business in just our community and they have a good popularity,” mentioned Opa-locka City Commissioner Chris Davis. “I believe they can absolutely support fill in the hole and relocated vendors in supplying an enhance from the preceding small business arrangement.”

Metropolis Supervisor Darvin Williams mentioned the town has been offering $300 to every seller to help defray expenses of shifting, licenses and registrations, irrespective of regardless of whether they shift to Atlantic or in other places. He also stated the county will support helping suppliers.

“We created this option for all vendors and we want them to stay in the metropolis,” he reported of the $7 million job to change Atlantic into a new indoor flea industry.

Each and every vendor has been delivered with $300 of financial aid for relocating expenditures, licenses and registrations, in accordance to Williams. He explained that Miami-Dade County will assistance with the charge of going he additional than 700 sellers who labored in the flea market, no matter of regardless of whether they relocate to the Atlantic or elsewhere.

Whitebook is hoping to extend to accommodate hundreds of vendors in the just about 200,000-sq.-foot key developing — with bathrooms, fire sprinklers and air conditioning. Like the Opa-locka Hialeah current market, it will be open seven times a week.

Even with additional time to program, there have been troubles. With offer chain challenges, it is been a stress securing the setting up content like the steel grid partitions and scissor-fashion gates.

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Vacant retail areas wherever possible tenants from the Opa-locka Hialeah Flea Market could go inside close by Atlantic Hosiery. MATIAS J. OCNER [email protected]

Parking has also been the largest issue.

But Whitebook states he is closing on a different adjacent warehouse area that will insert 240 areas. And he hopes to accommodate tire shops, alarm installations and window tinters — all popular vendors in the old flea current market — in a different adjacent warehouse he owns. In all, the complicated could be distribute out around 15 acres.

“The much more men and women appear to get the tires completed, the far more people will want go to the foodstuff vans,” he said.

The metropolis has also floated a program to establish a multi-level parking garage, inside of a few months, on the premises. Regardless of whether that takes place continues to be to be viewed, but Whitebook explained it would add another a few acres of useful parking.

“I’m worried about the parking, I am making an attempt to get vendors to hold off their transfer date to have the parking great deal ready when they transfer, in a handful of months,” reported Williams, the city manager.

Dealing with distributors also has not been uncomplicated. A person demanded 3 months no cost hire — and primary area in close proximity to the doorway. The rates will be amongst $400 and $600 a week, based on the proximity to the entrance entrance.

Some have been crucial of the space. Roberto Hilarion, a 74-yr-previous salesman of pet fish, reported the areas at Atlantic Hosiery were being simply just far too small, the infrastructure way too minimal, the selling prices as well superior.

“We won’t promote everything in excess of there,” he explained. “There is not adequate parking.”

But other folks, like Alexandra and Gustavo Pires, who run 4 4 foodstuff trucks at the Opa-locka Hialeah market place jumped at the possibility. They strategy to park at minimum just one truck exterior, with hopes of one particular working day having clearance to open up up a stall inside of as well.

“I like that it’s clean up, and how it is likely to be divided up,” Alexandra Pires explained. “We’re anticipating it’s likely to be a flea industry with course.”

Maria de Leon, who runs a stall selling women’s outfits, has also signed up. She now pays $340 a 7 days for an inside stall in the Opa-locka Hialeah market. But following touring Atlantic, she says she is good with having to pay $450 a 7 days — because shoppers will enjoy air conditioning, and won’t be deterred by the rains that normally squelch out of doors company all through the summer time.

“It’s significant for us to stay in the space. Most of our consumers are Cuban, from Hialeah,” she mentioned. “I have faith it is going to be a excellent adjust for us.”

Observe far more of our reporting on Housing affordability crisis

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David Ovalle covers crime and courts in Miami. A indigenous of San Diego, he graduated from the University of Southern California and joined the Herald in 2002 as a athletics reporter.

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