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After nearly 20 years, crime forces ABQ flea market to close

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Has crime gotten so bad in Albuquerque that businesses are now packing up to get out?

That’s the case for at least one business – a local shop that is relocating after 18 years. The owner says they just can't risk it anymore.

“It's a flea market, and it really varies what we sell,” Alan Direen said. “We sell everything from pots and pans to very nice furniture and collectibles, antiques. We're more about household, useable household items.”

But lately, Direen says, things just haven't been the same. It’s gotten dangerous.

“The neighborhood has gotten so bad over the last five years. But in the last year it's gotten so bad that we just can’t risk our customers, our employees being hurt while on the job or at our stores,” Direen said.

Over and over again they've had to call police to report property crime.

“My employees have had knives pulled on him. We've dealt with everything just trying to move them along,” Direen said.

And over and over again the problem doesn't go away.

“We literally see them come get methadone, come across the street to our side of the street and inject drugs and nod out on the sidewalk,” Direen said.

This building is mostly empty now, with few reminders that for nearly two decades about 80 vendors filled the area to sell their goods six days a week.“We own three other stores within three-and-a-half miles of this store,” Direen said. “But we've moved most of the vendors from here to our Central and San Pedro location.”


New owner takes reins of Popular Pensacola flea market

Pensacola’s oldest and most popular flea market in the city is under new management. United Flea Markets, owner of successful Mile High Flea Market in Denver, Colorado and the Flamingo Island Market in Bonita Springs, Florida, has recently taken over.

"As owners and operators we have a deep understanding of the flea market business and the ever-changing needs and desires of both buyers and sellers," said Rob Sieban, United Flea Market's president and CEO, and chairman of the National Flea Market Association. "We continue to seek out well-run flea markets, like the T & W, in which to invest to help bolster our national footprint of markets, while still preserving the culture, integrity and community aspect of each."

United Flea Markets says this could be a game changer for markets who rent out a booth at the market.

The acquisition is part of a long-term strategy by United Flea Markets to grow its nationwide community of flea markets, while helping individual markets expand their business strength and create a rewarding experience for sellers and buyers alike.

United Flea Markets has hired a new general manager, Steven Price, whose expertise in facilities management, food and beverage and technology will support vendors and buyers.