New “Flea-For-All” Market Struggles With Its Own Identity as Well as With the City’s Licensing Office

Jewelry maker Betina Clark: "I just hope the city doesn't drive this business out of Portland."

Nathaniel Baldwin, 18 year old Emma, and Erin Kiley at "Flea-For-All Market

By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,150)

“We are fighting a misconception. We are trying to convey to the public that we are more than your typical flea market. It’s not anything sells here,” said Nathaniel Baldwin yesterday a co-owner of Portland’s “Flea-for-All” Market. “Everything here is juried to be sure it fits our aesthetics. People don’t know what to expect when they come in. It may be like the Montsweag Flea Market in Woolwich. It’s not.”

Since the innovative Market opened in April, the focus of attention has been on its struggles with the city over licensing and vendors fees and not so much on the benefits to the Bayside neighborhood and the vendors who sell there. An ordinance that will streamline the whole process is on the agenda for tomorrow night’s City Council agenda.

Hill resident Betina Clark is a jewelry vendor at the former Asia West showroom. She makes lovely hammered silver necklaces, bracelets and earrings. A Maine native, as a child she made jewelry from her father’s electrical wiring he used in his refrigeration business. At college, she majored in marketing. For the past seventeen years, she’s been the retail manager for the popular Lovell Designs; part of that means managing shows in New York City as well as other places in the northeast.

“I know this business will be a successful venture in Portland, so I stick with it even on the slower days,” said Clark. “I just hope that the city doesn’t do anything to drive this business out of Portland. It happens too often.”