Matthew Marchese is bringing something old and something new to downtown Delhi. He launched John’s Flea Market at 110 Main St. in July.
Marchese, 40, formerly a private chef in Brooklyn, grew up in Derry, New Hampshire, where his weekends were spent frequenting the Grand View Flea Market, now closed.
“It was basically every Sunday,” he said. “My father and I would go, and you look at the same (stuff), the same faces, the same junk, but it was just tradition,” he said. “We didn’t have a ton of family traditions, but years later, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s something we did every Sunday.’”
Marchese said he’s keeping that family feel, with his sister Amy Anthony overseeing publicity and social media.
John’s Flea, Marchese said, will provide a weekend complement to his shop, This and That, also at 110 Main St., which sells vintage and modern finds “from the early 1900s and from 2020.” The flea market is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and, weather permitting, Marchese said, will operate year round.
Marchese said the flea market, in practice and product, will be for everyone.
“I want it to be for locals from Delhi, Andes, Bovina and Margaretville; I want old people to come; I want young people to come,” he said. “I don’t want it to be the hipster parade … and I don’t want people to be priced out.
“There might be vendors selling stuff for $500 and people like me doing a bunch of stuff for $1,” he said. “I don’t want it to turn into a place that only certain people can come to, I want it to be more traditional bric-a-brac … and to cater to flea-market people that actually enjoy meandering about.”
Marchese said, drawing on his culinary background, he plans to open a sweet tea, coffee and iced coffee stand at the market as it gets established.
Community response, Marchese said, has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
“I had the idea (for John’s Flea) probably a month and a half ago,” he said, in early July. “When I have an idea, I just go with it and get it done as fast as I can. Since my shop has been open, for like only eight days, everyone that comes in, I’m plugging (the flea market) … and everyone’s pumped. The people who I’ve met and who I’ve talked with, they’re all saying that this is exactly what Delhi needs.”
Market vendors, Marchese said, are still needed and should visit johnsflea.com for more information. Vendor spaces are available for $20.
“I don’t care if you sell antiques, cupcakes, jewelry, photography — it’s whatever people want to do, that’s how I want to do it,” he said. “I don’t want it to be pretentious and just super-nice jewelry; if you want to sell your kids’ footie pajamas and lawn furniture, you can.”
Admission to John’s Flea is free, Marchese said, but a suggested 50-cent donation, the same as at the Grand View, will benefit the community.
“I’m not going to pocket that money, and it’s not going to be a ton of money,” he said. “I just figured it’d be a good thing.” The first donation, Marchese said, will go to the Delhi Alliance Church and he is exploring other area nonprofit organizations as possible recipients.
Marchese, who moved from Brooklyn to Delhi permanently in mid-July, said he hopes to make the flea market a fixture.
“I’d love for this to really gain traction and just be commonplace, where people say, ‘Are we going to the flea? Are we going to John’s?’,” he said. “I’d love it to get to the point where people are signing up for tables ahead of time and for people to really want to vend.”
For more information, visit johnsflea.com, find “John’s Flea” on Facebook or follow @johnsflea on Instagram.