I-70 Shoppers Fair preps for ambitious launch in Missouri
Note: This story was updated on Aug. 16 — see below.
With a bold vision for a new use of an old property, a partnership of developers is moving swiftly forward with plans to launch a large flea market in St. Peters, Mo. “We got inspired by seeing flea markets both large and small,” says Dan Fetsch, one of the developers. “Given the economy, the need for this type of venue, and this location, we felt we could convert this property into a very large flea market.”
And the development team is ambitious — “We don’t want it to be a small 100 or 200 booth flea market. We want it to be a bigger deal, with a fair atmosphere, carnival rides for kids, entertainment, and a food court. We want it to be a place for families to bring their kids.”
The I-70 Shoppers Fair and Family Fun Center will cover 14 acres on the north side of Interstate 70 North Service Road, east of Mid-Rivers Mall Drive.
The partnership consists of two married couples, Dan and Judy Fetsch, and Ted and Susan Stewart. Ted Stewart, based in Jefferson City, Mo., has put together other local developments, and the Fetsch’s family formerly operated a foundry at the site of the future flea market.
The city of St. Peters is on board with the project. “They’re approved. Their next steps would be to apply for their construction permits. They’ve received all approvals they need from the city to move forward with the project,” says Cathy Pratt, manager of the St. Peters city engineering and development services group. “They have to remove demolition debris from the site, pave or clean up any necessary surfaces, and construct a pavilion.”
Dan Fetsch explains that the project will move forward in stages. “We’re not going to have 1,000 vendors immediately. This thing will be done in phases. We’re hoping for 350 to 400 to get started.” The first phase will have covered pavilions, rest rooms, facades along three sides, and a kiddie carnival with rides. Phase one may also include a 100-room hotel. Financing is moving forward, according to Fetsch: “The bank is ready to fund the project.”
The contractor, Duggan Contracting, estimates that the first phase will be complete in late August. “We want to open as early as possible, but Sept. 1 is a key date,” says Fetsch. “Sept. 1 is a great time to open because the weather should be a little more moderate.”
Fetsch says that just through word of mouth and a local press report, he has heard from 80 to 100 vendors. “We’re getting a lot of calls from people with unique products,” says Fetsch. “I’m really excited about the opportunity it gives to business owners. People coming to the fair will find a lot more products than what you might see at a typical flea market.”
Initially, a booth will cost $35 per day. The market will be open on Saturday and Sunday, with some three-day holiday weekends. “There will be either a parking or admission fee, not both,” says Fetsch, “and it will be nominal.”
For more information, contact Ted Stewart at the market’s new general phone number, (636) 922-5900. The market Web site should be live by the middle of July.
Site plan art and renderings courtesy Duggan Contracting, with thanks.
Aug. 16 Update: Co-owner Dan Fetsch reports that the project has hit some hurdles. “We‘re still working with lendors to finalize a loan,” he says. “We’re also still dealing with the City of St. Peters on some issues. Although I’m very frustrated, I remain confident that we will get it opened up this year. We’re just still fighting some issues that unfortunately I didn’t think we would be fighting at this time. We work on it every day. In fact, we have a meeting at lunchtime today with the mayor of St. Peters. Every day it’s another challenge or another hurdle. But we’re trying our best.”