News from around the country

 With lag in ordered repairs, fate unclear for Shrewsbury’s Route 9 Flea Market

The Route 9 Flea Market was closed recently because of code violations resulting in “serious life safety conditions.” The operator said he will decide this week whether he will discontinue the market.

Jack Tai, who operates the large flea market in an old warehouse at 420 Boston Turnpike, said he might have to close because the building’s owner is taking too long to make repairs.

Public health and safety officials evacuated the building after mold, roof leaks, a partial roof collapse and other “serious life safety conditions” were found following an inspection on Aug. 18. The owner, Carl Cervini of Shrewsbury, has been ordered to make repairs before the building can reopen.

Tai said by phone that he has contacted Cervini and was told that he is working on making the repairs.

“He has already taken, like, two months already. I’ve lost my customer base. They are probably not going to come back,” Tai said.

Kristen Las, Shrewsbury’s assistant town manager and economic development director, said the owner has not started repairs and the magnitude of the required corrective work is not known.

“We have not received any building permits for any work to take place on the building,” she said.

Cervini could not be reached for comment.

Town officials inspected the building after a police officer working a detail at the site on Aug. 18 was notified by the security officer of safety concerns involving the roof. Other code violations, including, mold, roof leaks and the sprinkler system not working, were also detected and the determination was made that the building was unsafe. The building was evacuated and the flea market was ordered closed. The gas was also shut off due to an accumulation of grease in the kitchen’s hood system, constituting a fire hazard.

In an Aug. 20 letter to Tai, Abby Graham, regional public health specialist with the Central Massachusetts Regional Public Health Alliance, said the operator had said only personal use of the commercial kitchen was occurring. She told him he would have to apply for a food permit in order to use the kitchen going forward. In a February 2014 post on the flea market’s Facebook page, Tai announced that “the food court is almost ready.” An Aug. 3, 2014, post showed pictures of an assortment of cooked Chinese foods.

After the Route 9 Flea Market was closed, Tai paid the Fire Department to monitor the safety of the building for two days to allow vendors to get their belongings.

This is not the first time the flea market has been ordered closed due to code violations. The 225,000-square-foot building was constructed in 1955 and used primarily for manufacturing and as a warehouse. Cervini paid $2.5 million to buy it from C J C Nominee Trust and Lainer Marvin Trust in February 2000. Its current assessed value is $7.5 million, according to town assessor’s records.


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.


Officials identify man killed in metro flea market shooting

​Oklahoma City police have identified the man shot and killed at a flea market over the weekend.

On October 6, just after 3 p.m., police say two vendors or employees at Karen’s Ultimate Treasures Flea Market, near 44th and Bryant, got into a fight when one pulled a gun and fatally shot the other.

The victim of the shooting was identified as 51-year-old Domeneco Massey by police on Monday.

Massey was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say they are still investigating what led up to the shooting.

“We still have to figure out exactly what this physical confrontation was,” said Lt. Jeff Spruill with Oklahoma City Police. “Whether or not there might be a self defense claim or whether or not one took undue advantage of the other.”

The shooter was interviewed and released pending the investigation.

No arrests have been made.

If you have any information, call the Homicide Tip Line at (405) 297-1200.