NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The monthly flea market at the Fairgrounds Nashville officially moved to its new location at the Fairgrounds on Friday after spending decades in the facilities on top of the hill at the Fairgrounds.
“We’re still here at the Fairgrounds, we just got new stuff," Mary Ann Smith, director of the Flea Market, said.
Smith worked for months along with Fairgrounds officials and flea market vendors to make the move as smooth as possible from the old facilities to the new facilities.
“I’ve tried to put the buildings like they were, like in this particular building, we have the Agriculture building and behind me is the exhibitor building," Smith explained while standing in one of the new expo halls.
Many vendors were weary about the move, not wanting to leave behind the history and familiarity of the old facilities for the new facilities.
“I’ll tell ya, it was a lot of trepidation," Bill Driver, a flea market vendor, said. "Everybody was concerned because we had been up in those buildings... I been selling up there for 35 years.”
But Driver said it's like moving from an old house to a new house, it takes some time to come to terms with the move, but usually, the move is a good one.
“It’s a new place and we had all got our perfect spots up there because we’ve been here so long and we didn’t know what it was going to be like, but once the first we started moving in, it’s really nice," Driver said. "Everything is clean, it’s bright, and it’s laid out really well. We have more space, and it’s really – everybody seems to love it.”
And that everybody includes shoppers, whether they attended the flea market for the first time or had been attending for years.
“It’s like stepping out of a tent into a hotel," Lonnie Layhew, a longtime shopper at the flea market, said. “I just think that where they’re at here is grand. I think it’s good for everybody.”
One concern vendors and shoppers voiced was parking, but Fairgrounds officials said that they have plenty of parking they can utilize to accommodate flea market visitors. If they need overflow parking, they plan to open parking at Fair Park and at the raceway, and if need be, they will provide shuttles to get people from the parking lots to the flea market and back.
Driver said as he sees it, the move is a good one for the flea market and could increase the amount of traffic vendors see in the future.
“I think people will come here because it’s new, everybody wants to see new stuff," Driver said.
The old facilities will be demolished starting October 1st, after which the Major League Soccer stadium construction will begin.