A Citrus County Saturday and Sunday morning staple, Howard’s Flea Market is under new, but not so new ownership.
The Howard family has taken back running their original flea market in Homosassa, in operation since 1972.
On Sept. 1, 1994, the Howard’s sold their flea market to Tom and Alice Cushman; Swap-O-Rama had it the past three years.
“We took it back from Swap-O-Rama and are leasing it now from them,” said Howard’s owner Quillen Howard.
For numerous years, the Howard brothers ran the market, with Quillen running the front part as Howard’s and his brother running the back part called “Homosassa Springs” for his dad. Quillen Howard originally hailed from Kentucky and came to Citrus County at age six with his family.
“Just before my dad died in 1998, he asked me to keep the flea market alive,” said Quillen.
Now, 26 years later to the day, on Sept. 1, 2020, Quillen and his wife Renee Howard are back running Howard’s Flea Market and are very happy about it.
“I love our vendors — they are very kind and very helpful,” Quillen said. “We have a lot of wonderful people here at the flea market.”
Over the years, the Howard’s have kept prices fair. The front and first five rows of market spaces cost $21, while the rest of the market rows cost $10.
“We got those rates back like in 1994 where people can make a dollar,” Quillen said.
“We also have outside unlimited spaces for yard sales,” said Renee said. Cost is $7.
During this holiday season, “We’ve had Santaland, with Santa on hand, coloring and crafts for the kids until Christmas,” said Renee.
“Our vendors have decorated trees which are judged by the patrons, with the winning vendor getting one month rent free,” Quillen said. “All money raised as the trees are sold will go to Citrus County charities.”
Most of the vendors from 1994 have now passed, but one vendor decorated a tree in memory of all those past vendors.
Howard’s Flea Market is open for the whole family to enjoy, offering something for everyone’s taste, from food (including the ever-famous Dixie Dogs), to gift items, clothing, art, gadgets, books, household items and much more.
On top of the regular market offerings, the Howards work to provide community activities for those who attend the market, including kid’s story time and even karaoke.
The Howards have some ideas in the works now that they have recovered management of the market, which offers 800 booths covering 55 acres.
“We have lot of new ideas planned and one if approved by our county commission, will be to have an event center,” Quillen said, with all kinds of activities and entertainment.
For more information about Howard’s Flea Market, call the office at 352-628-FLEA.