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Online marketplaces brought an end to Cape Breton's well-known real-life flea market

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A weekly market in Cape Breton has closed its doors after four decades as a destination for treasure hunters in search of secondhand gems. 

When the Bargain Hunters Flea Market launched in 1980, it included 18 vendors that attracted roughly 2,500 customers to the shopping centre in Sydney, N.S.

George A. Peters, owner of the thrift market chain, said the industry hit its peak in the 1990s before Sunday shopping was legalized in Nova Scotia. Markets could be held in malls on Sundays when the buildings would otherwise be closed. 

"I used to see people coming in, they'd get wiped out in the first two hours. There would be nothing left on their tables," said Peters. 

"I watch people leaving and when they're going out the door, very rarely I see somebody not carrying something that they purchased."

Shopping and selling habits are changing

Peters, who just turned 80, said it's been hard to find spaces to rent for the market that has often made appearances in Sydney, and North Sydney. At one time, Peters ran more than a dozen operations around the Maritimes. 

But he said fewer people are bringing unwanted items to flea markets and instead opting to sell them online. 

"It was quite a successful business over a long period of time, but times have changed," said Peters. "We weren't getting those new vendors that you really need to make it successful or continue making it successful. That combined with selling online or shopping online … it was pretty obvious that it was about time to pull the plug."

A final market took place at the Cape Breton County Arena in Coxheath earlier this fall. 

Peters said running thrift markets was a side business in addition to his job as manager for the province's former Consumer Affairs Department. He said the market idea was passed onto him because he was already renting tables and often went to malls looking for a space to sit and conduct provincial outreach.

Starting point for budding business owners

Cindy Holloway has been attending Sydney area flea markets since she was a child and started selling her own wares there a couple of months ago. 

Holloway said the market will be missed because it allowed people to find bargains and gave budding entrepreneurs and artists a space to draw in customers.


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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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Shots fired at indoor swap meet in West Valley City


WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – A shooting in West Valley City injured two and left two crime scenes. The incident took place at an indoor swap meet in the area of 1500 W 3500 S.

Police responded to reports of shots fired just after 1 p.m. Upon arrival, they located someone matching the suspects description in the parking lot next to the swap meet.

During an exchange between this individual and responding officers, a West Valley City Police Officer shot the individual identified as the suspect. He is currently in the hospital in critical condition.