- Associated Press - Monday, May 5, 2014

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Louise Embry sat in her chair inside her booth at Evansville’s Super Flea Market this weekend, a booth she has occupied since the doors opened more than 20 years ago.

Customers walked by. Many stopped to look through her antiques and collectibles. The regulars knew her by name.

“I’ll miss seeing your smiling face every month,” one woman said as she walked by.

The well-known flea market closed its doors Sunday. Owners Bob and Doloris Savage agreed to sell the 350-booth warehouse to the neighboring Royal Crown Bottling Corporation (RC).

“It’s a second retirement for my husband and me,” Doloris Savage told the Evansville Courier & Press (https://bit.ly/Q67FeS ). “We’re at an age where we need our time to be able to enjoy our lives.”

Doloris, 71, and Bob, 72, have owned the building for nearly eight years. When they took over, 64 booths were empty, the restrooms were a mess and the snack bar reeked of health code violations, Savage said.

“There were two weeks between our first show and the Thanksgiving show and I’ll never forget the surprise on the vendors’ faces when they came in,” she said. “We made a tremendous change.”

Embry said her business improved by 75 percent when the Savages took over.

“They care about us,” Embry said. “They aren’t in this for the money.”

Embry, who lives in Evansville, said if someone takes over and relocates locally, she’ll continue to sell.

“If I have to drive out of town, I’ll retire,” she said.

She made anywhere between $700 and $2,500 a month, she said.

“It’s been such a wonderful market for me,” Embry said.

Vendors were notified during a pre-show meeting in April that they have until May 15 to move out. Embry said she cried when she heard the news, but she didn’t shed tears alone.

“It’s a sad ending,” she said.

RC surveyed the building in February and purchased it in March, but RC truck drivers began telling everyone the company had bought it out before any contracts were signed, Savage said.

When rumors of a buyout surfaced, Savage shut them down.

“We told (the vendors) it was not sold because there was no agreement,” Savage said. “We wanted to be the first to tell our vendors. We wanted to make sure they had plenty of time to get out. They’re such loyal friends. Most of them understand and they’re happy to see us retire.”

When the going got tough, Savage found comfort knowing Embry was always around.

“If it hadn’t have been for her, I never would have made it,” Savage said. “I know that she’s here and taking care of it.”

As for a new location, there is nothing concrete, but Savage said she and her husband will give anyone who takes it over the rights to the name.

“I was always excited to come in for a show and see our vendors and our loyal customers,” Savage said. “It’s going to be a real miss for me. We created a family here.”

“Maybe we’ll have a flea market reunion,” Savage said, laughing.

Deborah White, of Evansville, visited the flea market for the first time last year.

“I think they should keep it open,” she said. “It’s something for the area to do.”

The variety and the prices kept her coming back.

“I get a little bit of everything,” she said. “They have the best deals.”

When asked if she would give any other local flea markets a chance, she said, “Nah. I don’t think others could match up.”

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Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, https://www.courierpress.com

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