L.A. Flea Market: Q&A with the man behind the event Sunday at Dodger Stadium


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When the L.A. Flea Market premieres at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, it will feature about 400 vendors of vintage home decor and furniture, gourmet food trucks, bands and more. The all-day event will even offer carryout services if you don’t want to lug your purchases to your car.

The monthly market is organized by Phillip Dane, who also founded the Melrose Trading Post, the defunct South Park Flea Market and farmers markets in Eagle Rock and Glendale. Dane, who thinks of his latest creation as more of an event than a market, spoke with L.A. at Home about what to expect on Sunday, why he chose Dodger Stadium and what makes a good flea market.


Question: Why Dodger Stadium?

Answer: If you were to ask yourself what is the premiere location in Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium is the first thing that comes to mind. It has the most incredible views, it is a fantastic space, it has wonderful breezes and it is evenly accessible. And the parking is better than any other location. The Dodgers are a great organization and it has been fantastic working with them. It was a long process to make it happen but a very amicable one.

How will the L.A. Flea Market differ from the region’s other outdoor markets?

I think if we offer something that is a bit different, it benefits everyone. Our whole goal is to give L.A. a more upscale version of the Rose Bowl Flea Market, which has been around for 40 years. My concept is to take the flea market to the next level by offering amenities that no one else has and adding fun things to the mix. Bands aren’t just meant to be background music. Our food court will be unsurpassed with 18 of the most tweeted gourmet food trucks.

What are the criteria for vendors?

I personally look at every single e-mail application that comes in along with photographs. We’ve had more than 1,000 applications and have accepted 400. I’m looking for a good cross of antique and collectibles, vintage and new merchandise. I’m not looking to duplicate things. While something like jewelry is more individual, we will have only one person doing high-end bedding, for example.
With the rising popularity of craft fairs and Etsy, will arts and crafts have a presence?


Quite a few vendors came to us through Etsy. They will have a team block of eight spaces with 22 members.

For more questions and answers, click to the jump ...

Being the home and garden section, we have to ask: Any gardening vendors?

We will have exotic plants, lawn ornaments, cactus and succulents, wrought-iron works and garden-related items from the past.

King Richard’s Antique Center is managing the antique and vintage section. How is this significant?
Chuck Garcera is spearheading our antiques and collectibles to give it some credibility. He has a great reputation in the industry, and he owns the largest antique mall in California. I also brought in Robert and Kristi Alvarez who own Vintage Blue Moon. They are helping me to locate quality vintage dealers. They are fantastic collectors and great vintage dealers. They are going to have some interesting things at their two booths.

You’re hiring Homeboy Industries, which recently laid off most of its employees, to staff the events. How did this transpire?
I called Father Greg [Boyle] and asked if they would be interested in participating. I put together an application for Homeboys on our website, and we had 50 applications in one day. All I did was ask for their name, phone number and for them to tell us about themselves. Some of the stories were so moving. People wrote, ‘I’ve been out of prison but no one will hire me because I have a record or too many tattoos.’ We went down there last Wednesday for interviews and it was fantastic. These are men and women who really want to work. We are going to hire around 40 people to start. They’ll be trained in the logistics of the event, handle parking, directions and greeting the vendors when they arrive early in the morning. I’m also donating booth space to them so they can exhibit their artworks. There will be a whole Homeboy section where they can sell their merchandise and help keep Homeboy going. It’s definitely the feel-good part of running a business like this.

Rick Dees is doing something special for the opening reception?
Rick Dees had this idea to do the Hollywood Yard Sale to benefit the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center. He’ll be doing two auctions, one at 10 a.m. and another at 1 p.m. He is going to be selling things like an armoire donated by Marc Cherry of “Desperate Housewives,” a vintage hi-fi from Jason Mraz and patio furniture and a chandelier from Tim Allen’s house.


What components make a good flea market?
Everything we’ve done: accessibility, fantastic parking and the best hand-picked vendors possible. You also need ancillary things to keep the non-shopper interested. People can go to a flea market as a family, but you may only have one shopper in the group. Here, kids can go play in the portable go-cart race track while you have an amazing culinary feast from a mobile gourmet restaurant. Your kids can play, you can listen to bands, enjoy the views and shop for some great deals, all for less than the cost of a movie.

General admission tickets for the L.A. Flea Market will be $5 starting at 9 a.m.; early-bird tickets will be $10 and allow admission at 7 a.m. The market will stay open until 5 p.m., but the last admission is at 4 p.m. VIP tickets, $25, will include early admission, valet parking and carryout service. Kids younger than 12 will get in free.

-- Lisa Boone