SANBORN—The Sanborn Preservation Society is itching to get its flea market moved.
The nonprofit group of volunteers is planning to relocate its Sanborn Preservation Flea Market to a new site — 119 Main St. — that is nearly straight across the road from its current location at 118 Main St.
The preservation society is working on emptying out the current home of its flea market of items to simplify the move to its future home, which is scheduled to start this fall and continue through the winter into next year.
“We’re open randomly right now and we’re having wonderful sales,” said Fay Schall, the group’s president. “What we’re actually doing is moving our flea market into our own building. We’re in the planning stages now.”
The preservation society owns the southern half of a two-story, red-brick structure — built in 1894 — on the west side of Main Street in the downtown part of the O’Brien County city of about 1,400.
The building the group possesses used to be a hardware store. The structure was donated to the preservation society in 2004 by Harv and Linda Verbrugge as the group was becoming more organized.
“We’re planning the interior — what we need to do to the interior of the building,” Schall said. “We’re going to work on the lower level first.”
She talked about how the group, which was established in 2005, wants to decorate the interior of the first floor of the flea market’s new location.
“We have, over the years, acquired things for a small-town museum, but we’re going to use those artifacts in our decor for the flea market,” Schall said, such as signs that say “Sanborn” and a large metal knob that was on top of the city’s old water tower.
“That’s our vision — to have a unique shopping experience where it’s part display of interesting artifacts that all had to do with Sanborn and then to include lots of interesting stuff and to continue to appeal to the bargain hunters as well,” said Starla Reitsma, the group’s secretary.
“There are a lot of people who are repurposing furniture,” she said. “That’s a big thing right now, too. We can see that as being part of the inventory.”
The upper floor of the preservation society’s structure may be renovated into an apartment for rent.
“The second level of that building is awesome,” Schall said. “It could be the most wonderful loft apartment that you could ever want to live in.”
The group’s first flea market was held on a weekend in late 2007 inside a former hardware store that is owned by the Sanborn Improvement Association.
The operation was a way for the preservation society to raise funds to help save the city of Sanborn’s former Carnegie library, which became a communitywide effort.
The former library eventually was saved, moved and turned into Sanborn Carnegie Hall, which is a small events center, and Cravens Suite, which may be rented for a night, a week or longer.
“The donations just overwhelmed us,” Schall said of the group’s first flea market. “It was an awesome response. We had a wonderful first weekend. We had lots of stuff left, of course, so we decided we would try it again.”
Some women who are members of the group offered to manage the flea market. They were led by Linda Rozeboom, who is a member of the preservation society’s board of directors along with Reitsma and Schall.
“They kind of took it under their wing and did a marvelous job,” Schall said.
The women who volunteered to run the group’s flea market retired from that task in December after about a 10-year run. With their retirement and the pending move of the operation, the flea market will be renamed as The Encore!
“We want to build on the wonderful job that these ladies did,” Schall said, noting that the proceeds from current flea-market sales are going toward the relocation of the operation and the renovation of its future home.
“By popular demand, we are going to continue,” Reitsma said. “And so a lot of our decor even will be musical.”