Brooklyn Flea expands to Philly

April 17, 2013 Heather Chin
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The pioneering and just plain fun Brooklyn Flea is is going into its sixth year with more expansion, but not into one of the city’s other four boroughs. No, it’s heading to Philadelphia!

The Brooklyn-Philadelphia trade route is a well-worn path by now, with notable chefs and brands having made the two-hour journey regularly for years. The Brooklyn Flea is the latest to make the trip.

Brooklyn Flea Philly launches on Sunday, June will be a combination of the Flea and Smorgasburg experiences, with craft and food vendors taking over part of the The Piazza at Schmidt’s in the Northern Liberties neighborhood. The Piazza was recently purchased by Jared Kushner of New York Observer. Kushner went to Flea co-founder Jonathan Butler with the idea and the rest is history, said Butler to Philadelphia Magazine

The goal, said Butler, is much the same as it has been in Brooklyn. “We put a big focus on curation. This is not some first-come-first-serve thing. You’ve got to try to have a balance of categories. You don’t want to have too much of one thing,” he said. So, “antiques, vintage clothing, jewelry, handmade goods. You’ll see a very high level and a broad representation in all of those categories.”

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He “wouldn’t be surprised if” as many as 20 percent of the vendors could be from Brooklyn, added Butler, who said that they were in the early stages of outreach and recruitment, so he could only confirm Flea/Smorgasburg regulars like Red Hook Lobster Pound and Grady’s Cold Brew.

But Brooklyn Flea Philly will still be all about Philly, he said. “The market will figure out what it wants to be. Opening day will look like one thing, and then it will look different over time,” he said.

“What’s been really great about the flea, other than the customer experience, is that it’s been quite a huge platform for small business growth. Hundreds of businesses rely on it. Some start their businesses here and then go on to do brick and mortar stores or open restaurants.”

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