Originally created 05/04/02

Newcomer will challenge longtime Augusta business



One of Augusta's largest flea markets will have some competition in a few months.

Barnyard Flea Market, with space for 400 vendors on 17 acres, is being built on Doug Barnard Parkway, about one mile south from the 24-year-old South Augusta Flea Market.

"We really don't have a grand opening day, but the way construction's going, we're hoping for sometime late July," said Alec Chaplin Jr., whose family is developing the market, a cross between a warehouse and an open-air bazaar.

This will be the family's third flea market. The other two are in Lexington, S.C., and Pineville, N.C., which is about 15 miles south of Charlotte.

"(Augusta is) a good market area for something like this," Mr. Chaplin said. "We were just looking to expand, and it make sense to come down here."

He said they chose the location on Doug Barnard because of easy access to Bobby Jones Expressway.

The family purchased the land in January, and workers began erecting buildings early last month.

About 200 of the vendor spaces will be 10-by-20-foot mini-storage warehouses with room in front for dealers to set up merchandise.

Other tables will be set up uncovered, and one building will have space for 20 partially-covered stores.

As in most larger flea markets, the merchandise will represent a variety of goods, from retail hardware tools to yard sale items, Mr. Chaplin said.

As for moving into South Augusta Flea Market's back yard, Mr. Chaplin said the competition will attract more shoppers to both.

"There's another market in Lexington right down the road from us, and everyone kind of feeds off each other," he said.

"A lot of people, when they go out to a flea market on Saturdays, they go to one then go to another."

Reach Vicky Eckenrode at (706) 823-3227 or vicky.eckenrode@augustachronicle.com.