Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Exclusive Interview with Caesar Creek, Part 2

image of caesar creek marketsSumner Communications Editor, Gloria Mellinger, recently spoke with Greg Dove, president of Levin Service Company, the parent company of Caesar Creek Markets, and Janet Burton, general manager, about business and legal issues of which vendors should be aware. Dove is also VP of the National Flea Market Association (NFMA) and a member of the association’s legislative committee.
Editor: As a long-time flea market professional, I’d like to get your input on the legalities of the business. Where do vendors start?
Dove: “When vendors contact us, the first thing we do is refer them to our Rules and Rates sheet. It’s their obligation to stay in compliance with all state, county and federal laws. The Rules and Rates sheet encompasses all of our rules for merchandizing, how booths can be set up and hours of operation, and this is one section of it. All the markets that I’m aware of in the NFMA have a Rules and Rates sheet. Maybe some markets wing it, but that would not be advisable.”
Editor: Who would vendors contact for laws about general merchandizing?
Burton: “In order to get your vendors license and sales tax set up, we also provide the web address for the Ohio Department of taxation and there you can purchase a vendor’s license online.”
Editor: Are federal laws around flea markets changing much these days?
Dove: “There are always attempts to put language concerning counterfeit at the federal level that is detrimental to the flea market industry. The NFMA works very hard with our legislative committee and with an outside government relations firm to prevent that. The NFMA’s position, which is what we subscribe to at our markets, is that counterfeit is not allowed. We state that in our Rules and Rates, we police it and we do everything we can to protect manufacturers’ trademarks and their merchandise.
Burton: We stay in contact with government agencies regularly to be sure we are up to date on the information we are giving vendors as well as staying in touch with the Ohio Department of Agriculture. They make yearly visits down to the market.
Editor: What other rules are implemented by the governing agencies?
Burton: “Under Ohio law, second hand merchandise, articles such as clothing and bedding, need to be Steribagged to sanitize any type of porous materials. We have worked with agencies in the past and representatives have come down and given information to our vendors to keep everyone safe.”
Editor: What else do vendors need to know?
Dove: “If someone is coming to set up on the outside, maybe one or two weekends, and they are selling their own merchandise, in the state of Ohio there aren’t government regulations for that. If they are selling their own items, there is no sales tax requirement. If they are selling new merchandise, they have to get the licenses they need.
Burton: “So far, the annual fee for a vendor’s license is $25. That is what it has been for six years or so. With the transient license you can go county to county. I recommend the transient license for our vendors because then they can go to our sister markets, Dixie Drive in Dayton and Treasure Aisles in Monroe, as well as Caesar Creek.
Editor: What else do you recommend?
Burton: “We discuss vendors’ space requirements and whether or not this is a long term business and then we can recommend outdoor or indoor spaces.”
Editor: What else is in the new vendor packet?
Burton: “We have the merchandise guide, the Rules and Rates and parking passes. Vendors don’t have to pay the admission to get in and open up their spaces. They also get complimentary passes to give to their favorite customers, and information on local lodging and restaurants.”
Editor: What else do vendors need to be aware of?
Dove: “If they are selling food and it is a regular business, they have to do the labeling which requires five items on the label.”
Burton: “The Ohio Department of Agriculture requires a statement of identity; ingredients and sub-ingredients, as well (this just changed last year); statement of responsibility (who made it, where and contact information); quantity of content (weight); and that it is a cottage food and home produced.”
Editor: Is it easier or more difficult to become a vendor today as compared to a few years ago?
Burton: “I think it is a little more difficult to make sure you are abiding by all the rules of the county and state but that is why we have changed our rules and include all the updates. We do it for the vendor most of the time and make sure they are abiding by it. We send out memos or we’ll go and talk to vendors one on one.
Editor: What one thing would you tell aspiring vendors?
Burton: “There are some vendors getting into a Walgreens, CVS type store. We want our vendors to know that if they sell anything with drug facts listed on the label, they have to have a health department license. Even some shampoos have drug facts. That is part of the change that occurred about a year ago.”
Read Part One of the interview with Greg Dove and Janet Burton.

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