Florida International University
MIAMI — In tough times, the Village Flea Market and Mall is thriving. After years of decline and a move to close down the Northwest 79th Street landmark, the newly renovated and renamed market is almost fully occupied and has created 150 new jobs in the last year alone.
The changes came after the once-decrepit facility — now called the Village Flea Market and Mall — was purchased in September 2010 for some $18 million, according to Miami-Dade property records.
The owner, Northside Centre LLC, is part of IMC properties, a North Miami firm that also owns malls and commercial properties in Coconut Grove, North Miami, Sunrise and Hialeah.
Sheila Rahming, the market’s property manager, said business is up.
New stores include Dollar Tree, D’or Fashions and a pediatric office, along with several government tenants including branches of the Department of Motor Vehicles and South Florida Workforce.
There are scores of neatly organized flea market-style booths, including nail salons, hair salons, barbers, jewelry and clothing stores and more.
“It was 40 percent occupied,” Rahming said. “Less than two years later it is 99 percent occupied, with 24-hour security, cameras all around the building, and open seven days a week.”
Store owners seem to agree.
“The new owners have invested money in the promotion and improvement of the place,” said Vielka Poll, who’s run Kapoll Shoes at the market for 20 years.
Monthly rents at the market start at about $700. The market's owners help store owners get a leg up by requiring just one month's deposit and giving them a month before they must start paying rent.
Tenants must sign a one-year lease, but if their businesses don't succeed they can break the agreement by paying a termination fee.
Tenants must also agree to rules intended to make the market function smoothly and agree to stay open seven days a week.
Among other changes, the long-closed second floor of the market is now packed with stores.
“The second floor is now open with lots of more stores. New owners have come, opening new stores and jobs.
The market is always in movement; if one store closes then another opens immediately,” Poll said.
Above all, the market's comeback has offered employment.
“We have actually created more than 150 jobs in the mall,” Rahming said. “A year ago many of them didn’t have a job, and now they do.”
Contact Ailyn Naranjo at email@example.com
Photo courtesy of Ailyn Naranjo/FIU