Youngstown Flea's widens reputation, fan base


YOUNGSTOWN

The Youngstown Flea is growing in both size and reputation.

Launched three years ago in a parking lot off Freeman Alley, between Market Street and South Avenue, the Flea is a forum for area vendors and artisans to display and sell their wares in their own back yard, said founder Derrick McDowell.

“This isn’t just a parking lot full of vendors,” McDowell said today. It’s giving legs and legitimacy to entrepreneurs and makers. For years, most of these people had to travel to other communities to have a platform for showcasing their work. Now they can do it right here.”

More than 60 vendors were set up Saturday at the Flea, which was slightly less than the usual number of around 70, McDowell said. He tries to ensure not just a variety of vendors and products, but also that those who sell their products are the best.

Mori Anderson discovered the Flea by checking out its Facebook page. She liked what she saw and wanted to be a part of it, even though she lives in Detroit, Mich.

Christine O’Connell and her daughter, Sadie Bryant, came with five other people from Philadelphia, Pa., after discovering the Flea last year when they came to town to see a band called Spirit of the Bear.

McDowell said most of the vendors at the Flea don’t have actual retail stores for selling their products, so the Flea gives them a chance to put their wares in front of people and get a foothold in the marketplace. Youngstown Clothing Company is one such business.

Read more about the company and the event in Sunday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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