Albert Lea Flea Market showcases local businesses

(ABC 6 News) – The fourth annual flea market in Albert lea began Saturday for its labor day weekend-long event, showcasing treasures and local, small businesses.

Starting a business the last few years has been tough and a lot of people have resorted to selling online, like Drew Sorenson.

Sorenson owns Rodeo Records, selling online and other items like vintage turntables and old gaming systems.

Operating via Facebook now, Sorenson says selling at a flea market will make all the difference for his business.

“A lot of the local community doesn’t know exactly that I even exist, or what I do, so this is a great way to get my name out there,” Sorenson explained.

He says in participating in small vendor showcases like this, he has a better chance of success for his business in the future.

“I’d like to one day open up an actual storefront. I would like to have people know about it now, versus when it’s too late and they’re not coming in,” Sorenson said.

Another seller at the flea market, James Melton, relies on people seeing his art in person.

Melton owns Fingerprint Customs, creating hand-made, custom airbrush designs on tumblers, clothing and even bike helmets.

“I’m airbrush painting pretty much every day now and I love it,” Melton said. “I love creating stuff, I love making people happy.”

Melton says connecting with the community face-to-face is a game changer for businesses like his.

“For anybody that is looking to get their name out there, doing little shows like this has helped me tremendously. Cause you have this person, go tell this person, and then that person tells this person,” Melton added.

The flea market was not short of people either.

“[It was] just marvelous today. As I said, this is the best time ever. We’ve got boatloads of vehicles out here and lots of folks coming by and leaving some money behind in town, said Bill Busse, who started the first big flea market in Albert Lea four years ago.

Not only do local, big markets like this help out individuals trying to get their businesses off the ground, but it also means a lot to the community.

“I hope to make this a destination,” said Busse. “I’m trying to curate something really good here.”

The flea market is open Sunday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with live music and food vendors.

If you want to check out Rodeo Records, click here.

Click here to check out Fingerprint Customs.