CHIEFLAND — For the first time in more than 20 years, the Chiefland Farmer’s Flea Market is officially under new ownership.
Husband and wife Sam and Annetta Ireson, of Seminole, recently purchased the flea market from its previous owners, Sonny and Lydia Griffeth, on Jan. 4.
Sonny and Lydia had run the business since it was sold by Jack McCormack to Sonny in 1999.
“Age,” Sonny said, when asked what led to the decision to sell the flea market. “It’s hard to climb up on the roof and tear tin off and put it back on. We were just tired.”
“It’s a lot of work,” Lydia added. “Maintenance wise. Maintaining an area this big.”
New owners Sam and Annetta are no strangers to the Chiefland area. In fact, Sam said Annetta’s father grew up in the city, having graduated from Chiefland High School. Her grandparents were also from Chiefland, as well.
Additionally, the husband and wife also own a business in the community, as well. That is Manatee Springs RV Park.
“We’ve owned that for about four to five years,” Sam said.
Sam said he and Annetta have always gone by the flea market, noting that he is continuously on the hunt for properties and for things to buy.
“I always loved flea markets because I grew up going to flea markets,” he said. “I had always said for the last few years, ‘wouldn’t it be awesome to own the flea market?’”
So, that’s when Sam reached out to Sonny unexpectedly to see if he would want to sell the flea market. Sam said he and Sonny ended up talking for “45 minutes to an hour” over the phone, which led to a face-to-face meeting the next day and ultimately a deal to buy the business.
“I’ve bought a lot of different properties and projects and I’ll tell you, this has probably been the easiest transition project,” he said. “And it’s because of them (Sonny and Lydia). It’s because of how they’ve done it and how honest they are.”
As he moves forward as the new owner, Sam said he is planning to make some improvements to the flea market.
“We’re going to be revamping the place,” he said. “Painting and really bringing some life into the building.”
This also includes bringing in some new tables for the dinning areas at the flea market, fixing up the RV sites, refurbishing the bathrooms and also working on the landscaping, according to Sam.
“I’m big in landscaping,” he said. “I think beatifying the place with foliage and landscape is really going to make it look nice.”
In addition to “revamping” the flea market, Sam said he is also hoping to bring in more events in the future, as well. This includes car shows and entertainment featuring live music.
Sam said they want to try and launch a fall and spring festival, as well.
“Really just try and make it more of an experience for people when they come through the market each week,” he said. “That’s my goal here is to make this literally a hub for the community.”
According to Sam, there are 308 covered spots, 30 outside uncovered spots and also 20 RV sites on the property. Additionally, those attending the flea market will find a variety items created and being sold by vendors on site. Some of these include: Debbie’s Veggies & Fresh Produce, Southern Sweets & Eats, Ed’s Outdoor World, Larry’s Guns, The Market Key Shop, Sonny & Anne’s Filipino Restaurant, Lyndi’s Doughnuts & More, Al’s Leather Shop and more.
For Sonny, he said he came to Chiefland because of the possibilities in the city for him.
“It’s where opportunity was for us,” he said. “And I believe Sam, too.”
The Chiefland Farmer’s Flea Market is located at 1206 N. Young Blvd. U.S. Highway 19. For more information, visit www.chieflandfleamarket.com or call 352-493-2022.