City Desk

District Flea: “We Put Together an Incredible Food Court!”

An update on the indefinite closure of District Flea: Market organizers say that the developer of the Florida Avenue NW lot, JBG Cos., wanted to look for other options for the space after the number of vendors at the market plummeted this season. The organizers announced Tuesday that it would be shuttering the high-end flea market immediately.

Hugh McIntosh, marketing manager at District Flea, says the flea market posted a strong opening this spring on April 5, with about 100 vendors. It has since averaged around 30. The market debuted last fall with 70-75 vendors at the market each week.

The problem, according to McIntosh, was that sales weren't meeting the expectations of its "high-quality" vendors. The market was able to attract people to eat, grab a beer or coffee, and hang out, but it seems most of these people weren't actually buying nonedible goods.

"We put together an incredible food court!" he wrote in an email.

The flea market, which is an offspring of the popular Brooklyn Flea, also floundered in Philly.

McIntosh says that while population density is the main factor that separated D.C. Flea from Brooklyn Flea, it's also the "endless amount of interest in local production and small business that exists in Brooklyn."

"There's plenty of that interest in D.C., too, but it's less ingrained in the city," McIntosh wrote. "So I think in D.C. we were something many people wanted to see once or twice, rather than check in with every weekend."

There are currently no plans to revive District Flea, but it's not out of the question.

The lot will not be empty for long. Union Kitchen, according to its co-owner Jonas Singer, has plans to use the lot for its events, with the first one scheduled for May 31.

"We are currently working with JBG to look at ways to activate the lot," Singer says. "Maybe it becomes a more regular thing and maybe it's just sporadic, it's not quite clear yet."

Photo by aawiseman via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

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