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LI Angels turned Hagerman building into a flea market, where everything was free

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The families of 700 local children were able to witness their very own Christmas miracle this weekend — all thanks to the Angels of Long Island.

Angels of Long Island is known for its special drives and events for Long Island families in need.

Those typically happen in the parking lot of their thrift and community outreach center at 350 East Main Street in Patchouge.

But this year, for their fifth annual Christmas Miracle “shopping” event, the Angels were able to transform a building at the Hagerman Fire Department property into a sort of indoor mall.

And everything inside was free for local families.


Debbie Loesch of Bellport, the group’s co-founder, helped gather donations from dozens of different sponsors and everyday people from across the island for this past weekend’s event.

On Saturday, Dec. 17, she, along with several dozen volunteers, took the whole day to set up shop, creating a shopping experience free to deserving families in need for the Dec. 18 event.

Each section of the space had different departments for those scheduled to stop in – girls and boys ages 0 to 3, 3-6, 7-9, 10-12, as well as a teen section.

“Every hour, 30 families will come down and pick five gifts per child with their own personal shopper,” Loesch said. “After they pick up their gifts, they will go to the pantry section and receive a full Christmas meal, including a turkey or a ham.”

Also that Sunday, outside the shop, they had a gift-wrapping tent where other Angels volunteers would finish up the trip.

Those services, too, were free to families.

But this was no free-for-all for anyone who rolled up.

Families needed to apply and were vetted. Those who qualified were invited to “shop.”

Hundreds of bicycles for kids of all ages lined the back wall, while Barbies, baby Yodas, sneakers, board games and play sets were placed upon nearly a dozen different tables, all up for grabs.

This is the first year the Angels were able to use the space provided by their friends at the fire department to host the shopping experience. In previous years, over the course of eight years since the nonprofit was founded, Loesch and her team of volunteers would host different events inside their storefront handing out giftbags for those in need.

But as word of the Angels’ event grew, the more donations came in, forcing the nonprofit to host events outside in the store’s parking lot then, finally, at the fire department.

This year’s presents and pantry, plus the donated space, were able to help 700 children get what they wanted from their Christmas lists.

“These kids sometimes come from homes that aren’t ideal, but they’re just as good as your kids or my kid,” Loesch said.

“Now, these children will get to experience the same Christmas as their peers.”​​


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Brumwell's Flea Market Closed Down

Since 1986, it's been a weekend tradition for locals to hit Brumwell's Flea Market after breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays. But, after nearly 37 years in operation, the Brumwell Family says the time is right to close the market after a long and successful run. The statement, posted on social media October 8, cites increasing age of the operators and the need for the family to focus on other pursuits. The family thanked everyone who worked with them over the years including law enforcement officers and "marketeers" for all the memories.


Opened on land that was owned by Royal Brumwell Sr., the market quickly became a popular day trip for many Marylanders. Brumwell's father had purchased the land back in 1888. Like all businesses, the market evolved over time to become one of the largest open air flea markets in Central Maryland. The well known event draws vendors and buyers from surrounding states, with some traveling from as far away as New York to sell their goods. 

In recent years, you could grab a bite from one of the food trucks on site with offerings like fresh made donuts and hearty breakfast sandwiches. Other participants choose to enjoy fresh produce as they stroll the aisles of goods lined up for display. Inside the open air lot in the 3900 block of Mountain Road, in Pasadena, vendors have a myriad of items for sale. From flowers to fresh produce, to power tools and laundry detergent, the flea market offers a bargain for everyone. Brumwell's provides a relatively inexpensive way for vendors to get in front of a large number of buyers looking for items like home goods, electronics and construction materials. With changing vendors each week, there is always something new to shop for. 

Sadly, the market will closed permanently in November 2022. County planners presented a design to neighbors that would allow developers to build seven residential condo type buildings on the site, with an assisted living section and multi-family living buildings. The plans also allow for three commercial buildings to face Mountain Road that could be used for a fast food restaurant, a grocery store or a coffee shop. 

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El Mercadito, formerly known as the Eastland open-air market, hosts official grand opening at new location


As the future of what's next for the site of the former mall still develop, the open-air market that found a temporary home there now has a permanent place.


Vendors from the former Eastland open-air flea market hosted their grand opening at their new location on Galleria Boulevard near Matthews.

The city closed the previous location back in February, displacing dozens of vendors.

"It’s been a long road to get here to this point and you can see by the looks of the vendor’s faces. This all makes it worthwhile,” said Charlotte City Council member Tariq Bokhari.

El Mercadito, or “The Little Market”, celebrated its official grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Charlie Mulligan is the temporary manager.

"We do expect to fill this entire place up and we can fit about 150 vendors here,” he said.

PREVIOUSLY: Charlotte City Councilman announces new site for open-air flea market

About 70 vendors were on the site Saturday. The market opens on Saturdays and Sundays, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. through 6 p.m.

"It’s designed well and we’ve had 4 weeks of a soft launch where everyone gets into the rhythm of how they set up. It is very structured in a way that is customer friendly,” said Bokhari.

Vendors were devasted after the city closed the Eastland mall location earlier this year and were told a new space was not possible. However, after months of searching, vendors opened their tents on the new ground last month during a soft opening.

“This one resonated with me,” expressed Bokhari. “I can tell these were folks that said I want to work hard. I need to be able to provide for my family so for the fact that months and months went by with no solution. And it was something that could be solved.”

Leonardo Cortez, one of the vendors at El Mercadito, said this is how he supports his family and it’s their livelihood. He is grateful for the Galleria location.

PREVIOUSLY: City of Charlotte says there are potential new locations for Open Air Market

“It was very tough during that 10 months to find a new place but we finally have a new place and we are very excited,” he said.

His goods were ready to be sold and on full display.

“Soccer jerseys are my main merchandise,” said Cortez. “I also sell soccer balls, shoes, a little bit of everything.”

A little bit of everything is what you’ll find at the little market; from clothes to jewelry to Hispanic-made goods. There are also food stands and food trucks.

Vendors say they are looking forward to welcoming new faces.

“There isn’t another one around, so it’s a new area where new people can come by and buy,” said Uriel Ugaret, a vendor.

“Winter time is very hard for us, but I think by spring it will be very busy,” said Cortez.

Mulligan said they have the space for at least the next two years.

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