Jul 31, 2010: Stormy Sunday, But Future Looks Bright

An emergency loan fund for Eastern Market exhibitors, who were hit by a sudden and severe storm Sunday afternoon July 25, and a micro loan plan for others just in need of seed money for their businesses, were announced today by Flea Market at Eastern Market Manager Tom Rall.
"Flea market exhibitors are resilient people, but dozens of them lost tents, booth displays and inventories" in the squall which burst violently upon the DC area and caused widespread damage Sunday afternoon, Rall said. "And I had been considering instituting a micro loan program, so it seemed like a good time to get it going." Rall committed an initial $20,000 funding and envisions making low-interest loans of $500 or $1,000 each, amortized over one and two years respectively to keep monthly payments low with no penalty for prepayment.
The program will be geared to exhibitors who have worked with The Flea Market at Eastern Market for more than a year. About 200 exhibitors, including exhibitors who were with the flea market before the DC government took over managing the outdoor markets at Eastern Market in January 2009, would qualify, Rall estimated.  Exhibitors interested in applying should email Rall or talk to him or Assistant Managers Vernon Burnett or David Wright Sundays at the market, where applications will be available.

The Flea Market at Eastern Market will continue to occupy its Hine School location on Sundays until new development construction begins on the property--not expected before September 2012. The continuation was clarified recently, Rall stated, when he signed an extension of the current term, scheduled for expiration at the end of the year, through 2011.

"The agreement will automatically revert to a month to month extension" until construction commences, according to a June 8 confirmation letter from Veronica Falwell, Director of Realty, DC Public Schools Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization.

"The agreement ended uncertainty about the future of the flea market for the next couple of years at least," Rall said, "and that was what was needed to activate the micro loan program. Many of our exhibitors also were concerned about the future of their businesses, so we all owe Ms. Falwell a debt of gratitude.

"In particular, I'd like to thank Ms. Yvette Cobb, of Ms. Falwell's staff, for her facilitating our work together for many years," Rall concluded, noting that the flea market will celebrate it's 20th anniversary on the Hine School grounds in 2012.

Availability of applications for the 2010 Downtown Holiday Market were announced last week by Mike Berman Executive Director of Diverse Markets Management (DMM), a Flea Market at Eastern Market related company. "Celebrating it sixth year, this event boasts one of the most spectacular outdoor shopping environments in the region," Berman wrote.

The 2010 Downtown Holiday Market will operate for 21 consecutive days, opening Friday, December 3rd and running through Thursday, December 23rd, Noon-8 pm daily. The festival will again be located on the wide sidewalk of F Street NW between 7th and 9th Streets, NW.

The event is a juried, high-quality crafts and gift market featuring a diverse display from exhibitors of many types of merchandise in a festive atmosphere. The market will accommodate 49 exhibitors each day and can be booked in several different segments.

A $40 application fee and a completed application must be submitted by midnight August 20. The online application and detailed information is available at DiverseMarkets.net.