Saturday, January 11, 2014

Eggs, Christmas, Jewelry and Drama at the Flea

Just before Thanksgiving we went to another (about 15 minutes away but in another town) and we were set up next to "the egg guy".... stop me if you have heard this before. The egg guy started talking to us and then asked us if we were interested in selling eggs in our area. I feel like I have written this before.... We said yes but not yet. We called just before Christmas to tell him we were still interested in selling eggs but not until after the 1st. But during the conversation the egg guy told us that he had been contacted by our "nemesis" Chad (the dips guy) and he wanted to sell eggs in our area. We decided right there and then that we wanted to order some eggs and start selling immediately so Chad didn't get in on this. The egg guy said he wouldn't sell to anyone else selling in our market. We would have an exclusive agreement with him. Cool! So we got two cases of eggs, about 32 dozen and started selling that weekend. It was a bit sooner than we were prepared to do but we did it anyway. It made Chad mad apparently but he didn't talk to us about it. Chad decided to call the egg guy's supplier and try to cut out the middle man. The egg guy is their distributor and has an exclusive arrangement with the farm (the supplier). So fast forward to last week. The egg guy calls my husband to find out how many eggs we want this week. My husband tells him and he asks my husband how well he knows Chad. Not very well but not liking what we know of him. He is underhanded, a liar, sneaky, vindictive, and a bully. The egg guy tells my husband that Chad had called him back and told him he still wants to do eggs and the egg guy told Chad he already had a vendor in our market. Chad tells him that we aren't selling right and he will do it better than us. He then goes on to tell the egg guy that he tried to call the farm and they wouldn't sell him the eggs that Chad had to go through the egg guy. The egg guy tells him again he won't sell the eggs to him. Chad then goes as far as to cuss him out on the phone. The egg guy told us to tell Chad that if he ever sees him he is going to clock him. LOL. We didn't tell Chad that. We don't really talk to him.

So the long and short of it, yes, we are selling super jumbo eggs. They are all organic but not labeled organic because they don't go through the sorting process because they are so large, they don't go through that process, hence no label. But they are steroid and hormone free, all vegetarian fed, cage free, etc.

We have a new booth on the corner of a busy aisle for the eggs. Just down from our jerky booth. The kids trade off who is running this booth. It is pretty easy to run. The first order of eggs sold in two weekends and we picked up a second order, 5 cases instead of our first order of 2 cases. Today we sold 18 dozen eggs. my husband sold at a market set up at the local hospital this morning. It is mainly for the employees. They loved the eggs being there. In fact my husband took 12 dozen eggs there this morning and within an hour he was calling me to bring him more. Today was really slow at the flea market. The kids and I manned three booths while my husband was at the hospital with our youngest daughter. But even though it was super slow we had an okay day there. We made our goal of selling 20 bags of jerky and surpassed it by the end of the day. 

At this point we are doing pretty well. I got our books all up to date this week so we could send in some information to the landlord of the house we looked at. We are making our goal each week and have been steadily increasing in income each week for the most part since we started with jerky. We expect to level off in a month or so. At this point we are no longer having to dip into savings and are beginning to beef that up again slightly. When we get to our leveling off point then we will be able to add a few things to our budget like health insurance (not sure how this will play out with Obamacare now though), the kids sports again, and possibly getting those annual passes to Disney World. At this point now we can afford a house but just need a landlord who is willing to take a chance on us. We are keeping our fingers crossed and praying hard that this will work out for us.

Oh we also added a new item to our shop this weekend. BREAD. It is Wonder Bread, Nature's Own, and Merita. We have the white-wheat, whole wheat, whole grains, and my favorite, Honey Oat. Yum. They are close to the "sell by" date and are selling them at $1.99 a loaf. The "sell by" date on them is Jan 12, 13,and 14th right now. So there is still plenty of days to use the bread while it is still good. We sold a few loaves today which I was a bit surprised because it was so slow. Now that more people will know we have bread we will start to sell more. That is one thing we have learned is that when you introduce a new item it takes people a few weeks to start really buying from you. I had several people tell me they just bought eggs at the store or just bought bread at the store but now they know we have it they will plan to buy from us next time. That is how it works. So we "eat" a few weekends and then start selling like crazy. We are just testing the bread out right now and hope to have the Flowers bakery begin delivery of their breads to us each Friday morning at a cheaper rate than what we are paying now. We are getting it now for $1 a piece. 

At this point we are selling beef jerky, eggs, and bread. We are also in talks still with a distributor to possibly bring in pastries, cakes, coffee cakes, and artisan breads. It may be a while before anything is hammered out. My husband hasn't taken another job and if things continue the way they are he won't really need to. Oh, the website is beginning to pay off a bit too. We have had four orders in the past couple weeks. They were all sent out promptly so we are hoping for future repeat sales. We tell everyone of our website when we sell the jerky at the booth and we hope it will eventually begin paying off. 

As for "drama" besides the Chad issues, Frank the collectible toys guy pulled out of the market over the Christmas holidays. We got back and he wasn't there. He left his sign up which was just a piece of poster board and he left us a message on it saying he had a fun time hanging out with us. We think his wife convinced him to shut down. The Avon people who bought the business in November have decided to move on too. Apparently when they bought the business the previous owner took all her business from the flea market with her and is now servicing these customers by door to door deliveries. I never got to know her well but am not surprised she would pull something like this. The new owners are the nicest couple but they can't stay with no real sales. So the lady got a job in Ft. Lauderdale and they are in the process of moving down there and they will open a booth in the market down there on weekends and she will keep her 9-5 job during the week for a while. It is sad to see them go and it leaves 5 empty spaces in our area not to mention the 4 center tables that are empty too. Joe and Joe the leather guys are fine. They had a nice Christmas visiting family in Long Island. The older one is ready to retire and they younger one is ready to fully take over the business. Joe Jr. is 55 years old and he wants to get rid of all the leather by summer and replace it with denim. He says denim is the new leather for bikers and he thinks he will sell more of it. He wants it to be a mens shop. He is talking about downsizing their 9 booths into 3 or 4 booths and giving up the rest. It won't happen until after "bike week" which is in March. Sammy the rug guy on our aisle is doing well. He and I have had some very interesting conversations about his religion (Coptic Christian) and his celebration of Christmas and fasting. He sells a rug every now and then and Joe Jr and I get excited for him. Sammy is a very quiet man generally but he enjoys a bit of "flea market drama" from time to time. Steve the dress guy said he was pulling out at Christmas and we put up with him through the weekends leading up to Christmas because we knew he was leaving and we wouldn't have to deal with him. We get back the first weekend in January and guess who is still there, :roll: yup, Steve the dress guy. He comes over to our side of the access road and smokes his cigarellos or whatever you call the cigars that are the size of cigarettes. The smoke blows right into our egg booth and my daughter gets really upset by it. I have had to talk to him twice about smoking on our side. Just smoke down wind of the booth. Easy right??? Apparently not. He sits right in front of our booth, under the big "no smoking" sign and smokes. Ugh!

I haven't done anything with the jewelry we originally started selling. We had been taking it to the flea market in a nearby town there and selling it all for a dollar and it was doing well but now that they are back inside the fairgrounds gates (when we were going it was held in the parking lot and it was easier to get a spot to sell). Now they are back in the gates it is harder to get a space and people are spending the nights out there in their car waiting in line to get a spot. It is crazy!!! We don't want to get involved in all that. 

I had the thought that I would put it on a table in the center of our aisle and sell it there until it is all gone. I have it all packed up in boxes in storage right now and it isn't doing me any good. Plus adding another table in our aisle will help to fill it up a bit more. 

We have a meeting with a lady who runs a bakery tomorrow morning to discuss bringing her items into our booth at the flea market. She does breads, sweets and specialty items like gluten free breads and vegan breads. We want to bring in her breads and her sweets but put it under a different label so it doesn't compete with her bakery or other markets she is doing. I will let you all know how it goes. 

Oh and yesterday a lady who owns a nice corner booth over on the produce aisle came to me and asked me if I wanted to buy her booth. She said she thought my eggs would do well over there and I agree. But she wants $15,000 for her booth which is a fortune that we don't have. She sells dip mixes like the other dip guy, Chad. They have been in competition with each other for a few months now. She said she isn't interested in competing with him anymore and wants out. She isn't selling her business but just the booth. I told her we would get back with her. She went on to tell me that Chad has a rich grandmother who is funding his expansions at the flea market. He is opening another booth soon over on aisle E also. So now he has the big booth with the breads and pastries and dips on produce aisle, a dip booth on C, a dip booth on Main, and now a new one on E.

This isn't the first time that someone has come to us and asked us to either sell their products or buy their business or buy their booth. We haven't figured out why but wonder if we look like we are made of money, look like suckers, or look like we are successful. Hmmm......

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