Local flea market draws students looking for deals

Jeanne and Michele Campbell, vendors from C&W Gifts, show puppets to Emily Walker and Joyce Stegall at Friendly's Frank's Flea Market. | Photo by Jacob Moore

By Alexus Brock, Staff Writer

Spring is in the air and so are great deals at the Friendly Frank’s Flea Market.

The crowds of people and diversity in vendors bring together the Jackson community in a family-friendly environment that offers entertainment, a variety of products and, above all, low prices.

Vendors offer a wide selection of merchandise ranging from fresh produce to designer handbags.

“I’ve been coming to flea markets for years now, and the thing that attracts me the most is definitely the variety and choices it has to offer,” said Vicki Boyd, a  shopper.

Among the many vendors, Bryan and Sue’s Old Family Recipe Flavored Breakfast Budder Spreads stand out from the crowd. The owners make cholesterol-free gourmet butters that vary in flavors, such as strawberry, orange and even garlic.

“It’s an old family recipe that we’ve made and distributed ourselves here in Jackson for more than six years now, just around the time we started coming to Friendly Franks,” said Sue Sanders, co-owner.

Paul Avery and Associates is no stranger to the flea market.

Avery has sold his merchandise at the flea market for more than 14 years and has expanded his vendor space during that time.

He has frequented the Big One in Memphis, the Nashville Flea Market and the Tupelo Gigantic Flea Market and Craft Show, where he also has set up several vendors to distribute his wide range of merchandise.

Avery owns a wholesale business in Memphis and regularly contributes to local boutiques, gift shops and beauty shops, where customers can find most of the designer handbags and wallets he sells at low prices.

“For the quality of merchandise, you cannot beat our prices,” said Bonnie Abercrombie, Avery’s aunt and sales associate.

Johnnie Belote, another associate, added, “We’re honest with the customers, especially when it comes to our products. We sell our wallets ranging from $12 to $15 plus tax and our handbags from anything to $30 to $40.”

Lisa Draper, co-owner of Sports Stuff Unlimited, is fairly new to Friendly Franks and the Jackson community. She and her husband, Brad Draper, sell sports apparel and accessories of all types.

She said the number of fans who visit her monthly astonishes her.

“We’ve asked people in the area, and they have said they really didn’t have many sports stores to choose from,” Draper said. “So we came to the customers, but we didn’t expect to be such a hit in just two months.”

Mayor Jerry Gist said he appreciates the flea market’s presence.

“Any event that brings people into Jackson from outside areas is good,” Gist said. “It highlights Jackson’s qualities and makes people want to be more adventurous and explore what Jackson has to offer.

“Events like Friendly Frank’s are important just for that reason.”

Jackson Fairgrounds Park hosts Friendly Frank’s Flea Market from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the first weekend of every month, Friday through Sunday.

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.