Haliburton Market offers hub for vendors
By Sue Tiffin
Published July 10, 2018
The former Sears Haliburton building on Hwy 118 is opening its doors again.
The building, which sits on the property where former Sears Haliburton owners Adrian and Wendy Vargas launched Mega Munch Breakfast and Lunch this past May, will re-open on July 14 as Haliburton Market, a flea market with about 18 booths inside and options for sale tables outside.
“We’ve been pretty busy, non-stop, since we’ve opened,” said Vargas of the popular food truck his family operates. “So much local support since we’ve opened, which is so reassuring. Repeat customers, we have people two to three times a day, which is awesome.”
The truck, which serves up specialties like homemade empanadas, burgers and churros is now open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“I will not name names,” he laughed. “I’ve told people I won’t name them, but yes, they are here three times a day.”
Mega Munch Breakfast and Lunch was getting so much traffic, that the Vargas family brainstormed what could fill the space of the otherwise empty ground level of the Sears building. That’s when the idea of a flea market came to mind.
“[We said] let’s put this on Facebook and see what happens, and it just went viral,” said Vargas. “So many good responses, and everyone wanted to get in there.”
The Vargas family partnered with Rita McCarty, a long-time friend who Adrian said is a “go-getter”, to manage the market. McCarty has experience organizing similar types of community sales in England, and is enthusiastic about the plan, which she said has been coming together quickly.
“Adrian said, what if we use this space as a flea market, and give people the opportunity in good weather and bad to pass along their treasures to someone else,” said McCarty. “We went, OK, let’s do it. And this was a week and a half ago.”
The indoor and outdoor market will be air-conditioned and feature about 18 generous booth spaces indoors that each have electricity, which McCarty said would be beneficial if, for example, a realtor wanted to show their videos on a loop. Outside, garage sales could be held. The parking lot has ample space for visitors.
“We have so many talented people in this community, it’s a shame for them to not be able to share their beautiful products,” said McCarty. “They don’t always have an outlet to do that.”
Vendors will be able to set up on Friday evenings if they want, and those with heavy products, like antique furniture or wood carvings, will be able to keep their booths set up if they plan on being vendors each week, rather than lugging their merchandise around.
“It’s a place that we can all get together, and all earn a little bit of money,” said McCarty. “Whether it’s someone who wants to sell their crafts, or someone who wants to clear out their junk, because as we all know, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Five dollars from every vendor fee will be donated to the local Food For Kids program, which the Vargas family has supported for years. That means if a vendor signs up for 10 weeks, the Food for Kids program would benefit with a $50 donation. Vendors can book for the day, weekend, or season.
Additionally, the market has space on the walls for advertising, so that guests to the market will be able to see what else is available in the area, whether it be an event or a business.
The Haliburton Market plans to open until the Christmas season, offering shoppers the chance to buy locally.
“Everybody talks about shopping locally,” said Vargas. “We want to give a place to advertise your local things that you make locally. It’s all about the community. We’re very big on the community, we’ve always said that.”
In the future, Vargas also has plans to potentially bring an ice cream truck onto the site. A flower market currently also runs on the property.
“Hopefully this becomes a hub,” said Vargas.
Haliburton Market celebrates a grand opening on July 14 at 13533 Highway 118 in Haliburton. Follow Haliburton Market on Facebook for updates.