San Jose Flea Market

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The San Jose Flea Market, located in the heart of the Silicon Valley, was founded by George Bumb Sr. in March 1960. His idea to open a flea market sparked while working in the solid waste and landfill business. He witnessed an abundance of treasures thrown away every day and realized he could make a profit from these discarded items.[1] After visiting swap meets in Los Angeles and Paris’ Thieves Market for inspiration, George Bumb Sr. established the San Jose Flea Market at 1590 Berryessa Road in San Jose, California. He bought 120 acres (49 ha) of an old meat-processing plant and remodeled it to create a market with an initial 20 vendors and only 100 customers per day. Now, the San Jose Flea Market is the largest open-air market in the U.S. and has become a California landmark with over four million visitors each year.[2]

Management[edit]

Vendors at the San Jose Flea Market

The San Jose Flea Market has been owned and operated by the Bumb family since its inception. Brian Bumb Sr., son of George Bumb Sr., now supervises and is part owner of the San Jose Flea Market along his other brothers, George Bumb Jr., and Timothy Bumb.[3] Other members of the Bumb family own vendor stalls, work at food carts, and have managerial positions within the Flea Market. Joe Bumb, cousin of Brian Bumb, owns American Precious Metals, an open-air store within the Flea Market that now sells mostly jewelry. On any given Sunday, a visitor can find Joe and a handful of his children helping their father at the family store.[4]

On Site[edit]

Attractions[edit]

A Mariachi band performing at San Jose Flea Market

The eight miles (13 km) worth of aisles allows for over 2000 vendors to sell an array of goods.[2] With a population and land mass larger than some small towns, the Flea Market is a major contributor to the income of many Silicon Valley families. Some of the items found at the Flea Market include jewelry, furniture, clothing, fruit, vegetables, shoes, collectibles, toys, books, cars, car stereo equipment, artwork, tools, toiletries, cosmetics, and cookware, among other things.

Along with the material items sold at the Flea Market, there are also many restaurants that are owned and operated by The Flea Market, Inc. and sell both American and Mexican food. Additionally, the Flea Market features traveling food carts that sell beer, soda, and churros. The largest section of the Flea Market is its Farmers Market, which stretches a quarter of a mile through the market and contains fruit and vegetables from California’s farmers[5].

The Flea Market features a variety of entertainment options every weekend. There are two stages on the Flea Market grounds, one of which consistently reserved for a Mexican Mariachi band. A vintage carousel, an arcade, three playgrounds, and carnival rides are among the attractions developed at the Flea Market for children.

Fire[edit]

On Tuesday, November 29, 2006, a fire burned down 24 stands of Produce Row at the San Jose Flea Market. At 6:02 p.m, a 911 call was made and dozens of fire crews and a helicopter arrived to put out the flames. Although the fire was contained at 7:15 p.m, $200,000 worth of merchandise was destroyed. Burnt nuts, fruit, plants, and plastic were strewn all over the ground. Theresa Bumb, daughter of Brian Bumb Sr., stated that they would do their best to help those who were affected by the fire by offering free or reduced rent.[5]

Future Developments[edit]

On August 14, 2007, the San Jose City Council approved the proposal to reconstruct the 120-acre (49 ha) property on Berryessa Road to allow for a 2,800-home development.[6] The Council took suggestions from the public and concluded in an approval of the motion by a 10 to 1 vote.[7] The lone disapproving vote was cast because the Council member felt the requirements the city gave the Bumb family were excessive. The motion approved the Bumb Family’s plan to potentially develop the 120-acre (49 ha) lot that is the current home of the San Jose Flea Market.

The approval of the project would provide more benefits than just an increase in housing. The Flea Market location is also a future Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station site. The upside to building 2,000+ homes around that station would have a positive effect on San Jose commuters.

However, it is important to note that at this time the Bumb Family has no plans or timeline to develop the Flea Market grounds. As such, there is no need and therefore no plan to relocate the Flea Market or its vendors. They intend to stay in their current location and in their current form for many years to come.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Vazquez, Daniel. "George Bumb Sr., Began Fleamarket". "San Jose Mercury News". 2000-8-21.
  2. ^ *San Jose Flea Market History
  3. ^ Hendrickson, Steve. “Memorandum: Bay 101 Conditional Approval of Stock Transfer”. 2007-9-13 [1]
  4. ^ Cha, Ariana Eunjung. “Internet Threatens Old-Fashioned Sales Venues” Washington Post. 2005-8-2. [2]
  5. ^ Gonzales, Sandra. “Fire Damages Flea Market”. San Jose Mercury News. 2006-11-29.
  6. ^ Sherbert,Erin. “The Waiting Game.” The Metro Silicon Valley. 2007-9-12.
  7. ^ Gomez, Mark. “Flea-Market Future at Issue- ‘Transit Village’ Planned for Property”. San Jose Mercury News. 2007-8-13.

References[edit]

  • San Jose Flea Market History
  • “Public Eye” The Metro Silicon Valley. 2000-8-24.
  • “Family Feud” The Metro Silicon Valley. 1999-7-1.
  • “High Class Joints” The Metro Silicon Valley. 2000-9-7.
  • California Business Portal Corporations
  • Bailey, Brandon. “Fairgrounds Floated as New Flea Market Site”. San Jose Mercury News. 2007-4-15.
  • Bailey, Brandon. “Vendors Rally to Save Flea Market”. San Jose Mercury News. 2007-4-25.
  • Barnacle, Betty. "5 Seized In Theft of Tucks Pickups Taken At Flea Market". San Jose Mercury News. 1990-1-31.
  • Barnacle, Betty. "10 Arrested in Flea- Market Raid On Fakes". San Jose Mercury News. 1990-12-18.
  • Barnacle, Betty. "Counterfeit Sports Wear Seized at Two S.J. FleaMarket Raids". San Jose Mercury News. 1993-5-3.
  • Gomez, Mark. “Flea-Market Future at Issue- ‘Transit Village’ Planned for Property”. San Jose Mercury News. 2007-8-13.
  • Gonzales, Sandra. “Fire Damages Flea Market”. San Jose Mercury News. 2006-11-29.
  • Gore, Robert J. “The Bazaar Growth of Swap Meets”. Los Angeles Times. 1982-6-18.
  • Eunjung Cha, Ariana. “Internet Threatens Old-Fashioned Sales Venues” Washington Post. 2005-8-2. [3]
  • Hall, Christopher. “What’s Doing In San Jose”. New York Times. 1998-4-12.
  • Hendrickson, Steve. “Memorandum: Bay 101 Conditional Approval of Stock Transfer”. 2007-9-13 [4]
  • Levander, Michelle. "Child Labor Exposed Employers Fined for Hours, Task Violation". San Jose Mercury News. 1992-6-17.
  • Mercury News Staff Report. "San Jose Police Arrest 8 In Bogus Cassette Case." San Jose Mercury News. 1986-11-6.
  • Rodriguez, Joe. “Discovering a World of Fruits and Vegetables”. San Jose Mercury News. 2007-5-24.
  • Rodriguez, Joe. “Produce Row Packs Them In”. San Jose Mercury News. 2006-6-26.
  • Sherbert, Erin. “The Waiting Game.” The Metro Silicon Valley. 2007-9-12.
  • Sherbert, Erin. “Twilight Zoning.” The Metro Silicon Valley. 2007-11-14.
  • Stein, Loren. “Wave Goodbye To the Train.” The Metro Silicon Valley. 2002-12-26.
  • Sulek, Julia. "Card Club Problems The Bay 101 Card Club in San Jose Has Been a Source of Controversy Within the Bumb Family". San Jose Mercury News. 2000-12-31.
  • Vazquez, Daniel. "George Bumb Sr., Began Fleamarket". San Jose Mercury News. 2000-8-21.
  • Witt, Barry. “Flea-Market Rezoning Approved- Venue to be Open Until Early 2010”. San Jose Mercury News. 2007-8-16.

Coordinates: 37°22′09″N 121°52′44″W / 37.36922°N 121.8789°W / 37.36922; -121.8789