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July 05th, 2020

ROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times


In her travels, one of the things Ada Linenbroker loves to do is visit flea markets. For some time now, she has wanted to bring one to Liberal, but she has never had enough free time to organize a market.

Recently, she approached Seward County Development Corporation Director Eli Svaty, Seward County Administrator April Warden and others who made up a committee with the idea to bring an event to Liberal’s downtown area to help struggling businesses and restaurants.

Linenbroker said this would be an appropriate time, given a new barbecue restaurant is set to open likely in July on East Second Street near the Rock Island Depot.

Linenbroker said initially plans for an event were initially discussed for using the plaza at the fountain near the Landmark Center. Unfortunately, these discussions came just as the COVID-19 pandemic had started, and much of what was taking place came to a halt.

Linenbroker said she later started getting calls from people, and she had already got permission from the City of Liberal to use the park just to the east of the Depot for a flea market.

“They had approved it and said I could go ahead and do that,” she said.

Linenbroker also talked with Liberal City Manager Cal Burke to make sure it was still okay to have the event. After that, she geared up plans for a flea market, and the first one will take place Saturday, July 4.

Linenbroker said initially, plans called for the flea market to run every Saturday through Sept. 26, but with that being the date of the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Duck Race, the final date for this year was scheduled for Sept. 19.

“It’s going to start at 8 in the morning and go till 1,” she said. “If they want to stay a little longer, they’re welcome to. We’re just going to have a shutoff time at 1.”

The Liberal Farmers Market likewise takes place every Saturday throughout the summer months, and Linenbroker emphasized the flea market is not an attempt to compete with the flea market.

“The Farmers Market, the idea with that is it’s homemade baked goods and produce down there,” she said. “There’s a few other vendors. Our idea is this is a flea market, and at a flea market, you can have anything. You can do garage sale stuff, antiques and collectibles. If you have plants or you have baked stuff, you’re welcome to bring that to ours too or candy or food, whatever you want to do. I’m going to see if we can get one of the food carts to come down and serve drinks.”

One of the businesses Linenbroker wanted to help out was Ruffino’s, which was located next to the Depot, but with the recent closing of that restaurant, that was not a possibility.

Linenbroker said she talked to the owners of Brick House Barbecue, which will be in the former Scout and Outdoor Shop on Second Street. She said that restaurant may not be open in time for the July 4 start date for the flea market, but it should open not long after that.

“The nice thing is they’re going to have their patio right there that faces the flea market,” she said. “I’m hoping to bring him a lot of business. I’m planning every day after we get this thing shut down on walking across the street and having some great barbecue and eating in his new restaurant. We want to help them get a good kickoff and get business started for them.”

Linenbroker said flea market vendors can come as little or as much as they want. Booths are $10 each, and in addition to the space at the Depot park, since neither the Chamber nor Ruffino’s is open on Saturdays, Chamber Director Rozelle Webb has given the okay to use the space in front of those buildings if needed.

“We’ve got plenty of room to expand,” Linenbroker said. “There’s lots of room to park. The city parking lot over there is open on the weekends, and you can walk across the street and park. There’s places along Railroad where you can park as it comes around where you can park, so we’ve got plenty of parking.”

Linenbroker visits flea markets in towns such as Albuquerque, N.M., and Santa Fa, N.M., and she loves the wide variety of items to choose from at those markets.

“You never know what you’re going to find,” she said.

Linenbroker said discussions about using the Fourth of July as the first day of the flea market had taken place, and she heard from many people who were not planning to travel for the holiday, making the date very ideal.

“This would be a good day to kick it off because there’s a lot of things that are going to be going on in town,” she said. “They’re going to have an event out at the historical society out at the museum, and we’ve got the Bee Jay game that night with fireworks. We’ve got plenty of other events, but this will be something early in the morning.”

Linenbroker encourages everyone to visit both the flea market and the Farmers Market each Saturday during the summer.

“You can come to both events because it two different kinds of stuff,” she said. “I think it’ll be good to get people to come downtown, and with any of our businesses that are open on Saturday, you can leave from the flea market and go over to the Flower Basket or any of the other businesses in town.”

Linenbroker said she and Svaty are working on trying to get some new businesses to go into some of the empty businesses downtown.

“We’re promoting economic development and just trying to give people another thing to plan to do every Saturday morning,” she said. “Get up and go to the flea market. Go get you some breakfast some place, and be out and about in town.”

As of Tuesday, Linenbroker said she has already sold six spaces for the first flea market, and more interest is growing as well.

“People have already e-mailed me back and said, ‘I want a space,” she said. “I had some people ask me some questions.”

Linenbroker also coordinates the annual SPBH Folk Art Festival in December, and with that event, sales tax has been charged for purchased items. She said flea markets must also do this, and this is something she wants vendors to know.

“I didn’t realize we would have to do it for the flea market,” she said. “I’ve already got hold of the state, got my licenses and my permits to do the stuff we need to do. If this is your first time to do it and it’s garage sale stuff, you sale your stuff, and whatever amount you get, you just have to pay the sales tax on it. I will have temporary sales tax forms. You just fill it out, mail a check in to the state, and you’re done. It makes it super simple. It’s not complicated.”

Linenbroker herself will have a booth at the flea market.

“I’m planning to set up,” she said. “I’m going to be running it every Saturday, and I’ll have something different either I make or grow, maybe some of my jewelry. I love the variety of a flea market. I like collectibles. I like unusual things, and I like bargains.”

Linenbroker added the flea market is ideal for those who don’t want to have a garage sale at their house or those who live outside of the city limits.

“This is a great way they can load their stuff up, come down and set up and be done in four hours and get rid of some stuff and make a little money,” she said.

Linenbroker said fundraisers for school groups such as cheerleaders and band, as well as other groups, are welcome at the flea market as well. In this way, she said the event can be used as a way to help everyone in the community.

Booths can be reserved at the Chamber of Commerce at 4 Rock Island Road, and more information can be found by calling Linenbroker at 620-629-0497.

“You can go in any day during the week at the Chamber, fill out the form and turn it in,” she said. “Some people will come every weekend and set up, but as we get our regulars over there, we’ll be able to do a little more about advertising what we actually have and if we have something special.”

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