“Spokane wasn’t ready for this 20 years ago,” says Doug Miller of the new Spokane Park ‘n Swap, a European-style outdoor flea and farmers’ market, opening Saturday at the corner of Highway 2 and Hawthorne Road in the parking lot of the old Newport Cinemas.
Miller tried to pitch the idea to the city 20 years ago, but after Miller had obtained all of the necessary city permits, Spokane City Council voted the idea down in a 4 to 3 vote. Slightly disgruntled, Miller moved away from Spokane and thought he would “come back in 20 years when Spokane caught up.”
Now, 20 years later, Miller is back, armed with the city’s full cooperation, and he’s ready to open for business.
Miller expects a huge response from the community.
“All of my experience has led me to this point. I’ve learned that the key to making a successful market of this nature is advertising.” He launched a big advertising campaign and that included television, newspapers and online advertising.
Miller explains that there are many other reasons why he believes this particular venture will be successful. The spaces he’s renting out are larger than other flea and farmers’ markets, and the cost of renting a space is lower than any he’s experienced in any other city. The spaces are 15 by 18 feet, and the typical cost for one day is less than $30, with discounts for two day and all season rentals.
Since Miller has been a vendor himself, he built this market from the vendor’s perspective. He realized that bigger spaces and cheaper space rental would go a long way to attract and retain vendors. He is also offering free rent to local farmers. Miller feels that this is his way of supporting local growers and that, in the end, it will prove to be mutually beneficial.
The Spokane Park ‘n Swap’s unique size will also bolster its appeal. It is the largest outdoor combination of flea and farmers market in the area. Miller anticipates over 100 vendors for opening day, with the potential of 195 vendor spaces overall.
Another aspect that makes the market unique is the wide variety of goods that will be sold. Besides produce, vendors will also be selling anything from antiques, arts and crafts, imports, and even sunglasses, all the way to estate and garage sales. Vendors have been lining up from all over Washington and Idaho.
“We are attracting vendors from as far away as Moses Lake, Richland and Sandpoint,” says Miller.
Amusements will be available to entertain the children as well.
“We really wanted to create a market for everybody,” Miller says.