Malta Drive-In Market readies for May launch
A sports event expert is using his planning expertise to fill a flea market void in upstate New York. Mike Thompson, who worked in professional sports marketing and management for 16 years, moved to the Saratoga Springs area, north of Albany, N.Y., a couple years ago, and he saw a niche to be filled. “My wife and I are big fans of flea markets and antique shows,” he says. “We noticed that there was nothing like this around here. My wife said, ‘Why don’t you do it,’ and I said ‘OK.’ ”
He pitched his idea to the owners of a drive-in in Malta, N.Y., and sold them on the concept. Local government officials have signed off on the project, and an official okay is in the works, according to a report in the local Saratogian newspaper. “We’re in the approval process to get a zoning change,” says Malta Drive-In co-owner Ed Caro. “The comments from the town supervisor have been good. Hopefully everything will go well. I’m amazed at how smoothly things have gone so far.”
Meanwhile, Thompson is recruiting vendors. “I want a good mix. I really want a local flavor, a unique, eclectic mix of vendors,” he says. “I’ve been to just about every antique show, co-op market, artisan, and dealer in 100 miles, collecting business cards and phone numbers.” He hopes to have 100 vendors for a May 15 opening, and he has room to double that, or more, in the future.
The market will start off on Sundays, possibly adding Saturdays down the line. Vendor space fees will range from $25 to $40, depending on frequency and commitment. There will be a $3 per car admission fee, but with a twist — 100 percent of admissions fees will go to local charities and nonprofits, who will provide the workers to direct traffic and manage the parking. “Twenty markets a year means 20 opportunities for local schools and nonprofits to do fundraising,” says Thompson.
The drive-in location is ideal, he adds. “We already have the rest rooms and concessions in place.” And a scarcity of local flea markets works in his favor too. “There’s nothing like this around here at all,” he says. For more information, contact Malta Drive-In Market manager Mike Thompson at (413) 348-8530 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.