CARSON CITY — It was 2002 when Gary Higginbotham started buying and selling new and used merchandise as vendor at area flea markets.
During the next 13 years, he also utilized his home and those different venues to work toward his goal of opening a storefront business of his own. On May 20, 2013, Gary’s Flea Market came into fruition.
“The space became available,” Higginbotham said. “It was the right timing and the right fit for my needs to make the purchase of this building.”
Higginbotham keeps his prices low. He does this by purchasing the new merchandise wholesale and the used items from estate sales and other outlets.
“I mark it up just enough to make a profit,” Higginbotham said. “But anyone can see my products are still cheaper than at popular retail stores in the area.”
People can also find food products, household cleaners, toys, tools and many other items at Gary’s Flea Market. He also offers a wide range of DVDs for his customers.
According to employees at the business, people are coming from Alma, Ithaca, Stanton and other surrounding areas to shop Gary’s low prices.
“I get many repeat customers,” Higginbotham said. “One of my deals is any DVD in the store for $2.”
Higginbotham will purchase used DVDs for a dollar even if the DVDs were ones he sold already.
“I have had customers bring back DVDs they bought from me and I buy them back,” Higginbotham said.
Since Higginbotham opened his business, he is doing well and the customer base continues to grow.
“I hear from many of my repeat customers that it is my prices that keep them coming back,” he said. “They also tell me that they are referring me to their friends and they love the neatness and organization of the store.”
Florida resident Joseph Johann was in the store looking at the items that are on display.
“My wife and I are camping in Crystal,” Johann said. “I was told by a friend about the store and thought I would come in and see if anything sparked my interest.”
Higginbotham keeps his store stocked with a variety of items and said he enjoys what he does.
“Most likely if you can find it at a flea market you can find it here,” Higginbotham said. “I enjoy seeing people find something they can use at price that makes sense.”
It has been only three weeks since the store opening and Higginbotham is looking to expand his business to offer hot food, too.
“Currently, I offer cold bottled soda, bottled water, ice cream and other frozen items,” Higginbotham said. “I am looking to add cooked hotdogs, pizza by the slice and other grab-and-go foods.”
Before that happens, Higginbotham said he needs to look into permits and other requirements that would allow him to sell those items.
Gary’s Flea Market is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and is located in Carson City at 114 W. Main St.