By April Short
Santa Cruz residents will once more have the opportunity to find that perfect household item among the lawn statues, vintage furniture and colorful costume jewelry of flea market vendors. With help from the efforts of over 1,700 petition signatures, the beloved open-air market reopens tomorrow, in the same location as the former Skyview Flea Market.
The flea market brings to life the proverb “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Molly Grace Coben, a former flea market vendor, has lived in Santa Cruz her entire life.
“I’ve gotten plenty of really cool stuff at the flea market — I’ve been going there since I was little,” Coben said. “It holds a special place in my heart.”
After nearly 60 years of existence, the Santa Cruz Flea Market closed down in November in order to make room for an expansion of the nearby Sutter Health maternity ward. Now, Goodwill Industries has taken on the task of bringing back the open-air market.
“Initially our goal is to get [the flea market] up and running, make it basically what it was before,” said Michael J. Paul, the CEO-president of Goodwill Industries’ tri- county Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Luis Obispo branch. “We want to make sure the vendors are going to come back, and the customers are going to come back.”
The flea market faces minor adjustments. The existing snack shack is in need of major repairs in order to secure the required health permits, and independent vendors will provide food. Karaoke will no longer float across the market’s sound waves.
The flea market originated in Santa Cruz nearly 60 years ago and became a key component of the eclectic city’s culture.
“It’s more than just a market — it’s kind of a Santa Cruz cultural spot where people come to meet and greet, and they go because they know the vendors,” Paul said.
Goodwill hopes the reopening of the flea market will once again enable people to afford certain household items they otherwise would not.
“That’s what the whole [Goodwill] mission was about,” Paul said. “To take unwanted household goods and get them to folks who were disadvantaged in one way or another. We are that link — it’s not a new theme for us.”