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 Massive Fire Rips Through Burke County Flea Market

A fire burned a large portion of a flea market on Saturday.

Firefighters were unable to contain the fire to the middle section of the flea market but several shops were destroyed
Shop owners said they are unable to have insurance while working at a flea market
The flea market will reportedly be back open this weekend

Firefighters were unable to contain the fire to the middle section of the flea market but several shops were destroyed.

Shop owners said they are unable to have insurance while working at a flea market, so it will be difficult to rebuild but they plan to do so.

"I panicked a little bit," said Janet King, who owns a shop near where the flames ended. "Because of the wood being here and so old, I thought the whole place was going to go up."

The flea market will reportedly be back open this weekend with that portion remaining taped off.


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Chattanooga Mercantile opens in former East Ridge Flea Market


The former East Ridge Flea Market building has new tenants — about 300 of them, actually. New owners Luke Stewart and Steve Watts are moving the vendors from their two stores in the East Ridge antique district, Greenbriar and Redbriar, and adding 100 more to the former flea market space, which is being remodeled and will reopen Aug. 1 as Chattanooga Mercantile.

Vendors were hard at work preparing their booths on a recent afternoon, one installing a screen door to complement a cabin-like facade, another slapping a final coat of yellow paint onto the siding that composes the exterior of their storefront. It looks as if an entire city is being constructed at once, with shop facades ranging from brick to log to a birdcage replica complete with newsprint-print floors and a menacing cat painted just outside the "cage."

While the soon-to-close Greenbriar and Redbriar focused on antique furniture and accessories, Stewart and Watts chose to leave "antique" out of the name of their new store because it's "so much more than antiques," Stewart said. Chattanooga Mercantile will feature everything from boutique-clothing vendors to an in-house fresh florist to a bakery, coffee shop and full-service tea room.

"The public is being offered over 300 different points of view," he said of the curated selection of vendors, including some of the area's best designers.

Perusing the different booths provides great home décor inspiration even if you don't purchase a thing, he said, but if you do, every purchase supports no less than two local small businesses.

The space is designed to make customers feel comfortable and at home, starting with a stand offering sweet tea and lemonade as guests walk through the front door.

"It's just good and Southern," said Stewart. "It's what you do, offer people a glass of sweet tea when they walk through the door."

He wants people to feel like they can get everything they need without having to leave — a cup of coffee, a meal or snack, a bouquet of fresh flowers. There are also several TVs strategically placed around the building for people who want a break from shopping.

In addition to the indoor space, the property includes eight acres behind the building that Stewart said they'd like to eventually use to host an outdoor market, concerts or other events.

While he and Watts haven't decided on hours yet for the business, Stewart said he plans to post them on the Chattanooga Mercantile Facebook page.

Chattanooga Mercantile is at 6725 Ringgold Road and can be reached at 668-8617, or visit the business on Facebook or at thechattanoogamercantile.com.


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Fatal shooting at San Antonio flea market


​A man was shot and killed at a San Antonio flea market.

Police received a call about a "shooting in progress" on the 3900 block of Eisenhauer Road around 1:15 p.m. Wednesday.

San Antonio Police Chief McManus said a man wearing a hoodie was milling around the parking lot for several minutes when a black vehicle pulled up with a woman inside it. Somehow the woman got word to her friends inside the store that she was uncomfortable and that the man in the hoodie in the parking lot might possibly rob her.

McManus said the friends came out of the store and the woman and her two friends got into a physical altercation with the man in the parking lot, which resulted in one of her friends being shot by the man in the hoodie.

McManus said the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The man wearing the hoodie then ran off and the other friend followed. Police said they are now following up on a number of leads they have as to who the suspect may be based on witness information.