The owners of the Caribou Centre have come up with a new idea to bring people into vacant space in the building.
The idea is called Busy Bee Indoor Market, which will take place on weekends in space previously filled by a restaurant and most recently by a retail outlet.
“Basically, we had a couple of businesses that came through and tried their best, but didn’t make it in today’s economy,” explained Kelly Schofield, the co-owner/operator of the Caribou Centre. “We saw an empty space and we always liked flea markets and going and doing that kind of stuff. So we thought why not try to start one in town.”
Schofield said the market would be for people who want to sell virtually anything, unlike most sales which are focused on things like baked goods or crafts.
“If you want to sell garage sale items in here, great,” he said. “If you want to sell old motorcycle parts on the table, we’re into that, too. Anything and everything. It’s just open just like any kind of flea market you’d come across down south. There’s tables of every kind. That’s what we’re going to try to start here.”
Schofield believes the indoor market will be more than a place to sell things.
“It gets the town a little more social activity on the weekends, especially during the winter months,” he said. “If this continues to grow and there’s a steady interest in it, we’ll probably keep it going all through summer months, maybe even make it a year-round thing.”
The indoor market was already been open without publicity for four weekends up to and including the recent long weekend, and vendors showed up and so did buyers.
Schofield noted there were people selling crafts, second-hand goods, furniture, art, dinnerware and more.
“So it was quite the mix in there actually,” he said.
Tara Schofield, the other co-owner/operator of the Caribou Centre, believes the indoor market provides an opportunity for people with home-based businesses.
“We’re also looking for small home businesses to maybe set up a storefront so they have the opportunity to meet and greet and acquire more clientele,” she said, adding she would also like to see craftspeople come from Fort Smith.
The Schofields were asked if the indoor market – part of a private business – might hurt bake sales and the like held by non-profit groups.
“They’re invited, too,” said Tara Schofield.
Her husband said non-profit groups will get discounts on renting tables at Busy Bee Indoor Market.
Kelly Schofield said the market will also be good for people living in apartments, who do not actually have a front yard for a yard sale.