Plans are under way to entice vendors at the Lehigh Acres Flea Market now that all compliances have been made after a check by code enforcement of the oldest flea market likely in Lee County.
The flea market, which is located off of Beth Stacey Boulevard can also be located next to both the Sheriff's Office and the Senior Center. The Sheriff's Office or Bravo Station is located at 1303 Homestead Road. If you make a turn into the station, you can drive a few hundred feet and you will be in the flea market area. There are two ways on Beth Stacey Boulevard, one by the gasoline station on the corner and the other at the professional building.
Either way you enter, general manager Mike Lippke says the flea market is one of Lehigh's best kept secret.
Marytza Jesus sells produce and tropical plants and trees and she will deliver and plant them for you.
"When people locate us, they are surprised and they tell us that they enjoy the vendors we have here, which sell everything from almost new furniture, lots of produce, shrubbery and trees, to all kinds of trinkets. But we also have a seamstress, a computer repair shop, a new electronics store where you can get your stereo installed, and a myriad of other things," Lippke said. His operations manager is Vinny Wright and both are always ready to serve not only the vendors at the flea market but also guide and help the visitors who stop by.
"We have all the outside vendors all set up now to compliance and we have lost some of the vendors, but some of them are coming back and others are talking with us about joining us.
"We are on the site of the old Lehigh Spring Festival grounds. For those who remember back 15 or so years ago, that is where everything was happening. They had an outside stage and here we are this week, the festival is being held again at Veterans Park.
"This is an historic place and we are proud to have a great flea market here in town for those who live here and for those who are visiting. The flea market faces the Microtel Inn & Suites and many visitors here spend time at the flea market," Lippke said.
"We are now planning for our own season in the summer and the following season next fall and winter," Lippke said.
"We are going to have some great summer-time events planned outside and it's all free to the people who come and visit us. We plan to become Lehigh's best entertainment venue," he said.
A Pet Show is planned in the coming months. There will be awards for the most handsome pet for the male and dogs. There will be cash prizes. And people can bring any other type of pet with them and they can be entered to contests we will plan.
In addition, Lippke said a talent contest is planned.
"We want anyone in Lehigh with any type of talent to come and enjoy the fun with us. We will have contests there, too.
"We're going to call it 'Lehigh's Got Talent' because it is the truth, we have a lot of people in this community are well talented in many things. We want them to enjoy their talent and let the people here have some fun," Lippke said.
In the meantime, Lippke said he is talking with new vendors who want to join the flea market. The building inside is filled with vendors who sell produce, furniture, new mattresses, clothes and all kinds of trinkets. But outside is a whole line of places for new vendors. We have the 10 by 20 feet tents, which are required, and if someone is interested, just call Lippke at 239-770-1916.
"We hoping to have most of the flea market outside filled within six to eight weeks. But we have a lot outside already, produce, handmade carvings of Florida's icons such as alligators and the like. We have produce outside and we have a new vendor who sells Italian Ice. She has all types of flavors. It is not like a snowball, but a good-tasting ice treat.
Carmen McCain, who says she is not related to the McCain who ran for president, has all types of flavors.
"We call it Italian Ice and it is great on a warm and hot day. We also put scoops of ice cream in for those who want it. The people are loving it," McCain said.
After you enter the flea market off of Beth Stacey Blvd., you will first see a vendor who not only sells the freshest produce, but has one of the largest nurseries filled with shrubs, plants and palm tree as anywhere and the owner says she can beat store prices. She will deliver your trees and even plant them.
"You can't beat that," said vendor Marytza Jesus.
Lippke listed others at the flea market, some new and some who have been there a while.
"We have Juan Ramos who sells like-new appliances, mattresses and other pieces of furniture, some being antiques, Cecile Phillips, Kingsley Cross who sells music and Bob Marley clothing. Cross, who is from Jamaica, says anything about Marley including his music is available. We have Marytza Jesus with produce and a nursery of trees and plants. We've got a tire store that sells new and used tires.
"You name it and it's probably here," Lippke said.
"Add those to Chris's Sell and trade where there are perhaps thousands of things, and to Oscar Perez, known as The Tomato Man, and you can't help but enjoy our flea market," Lippke said.