By Pauline Masson
An early November cold snap and predictions of rain did not keep shoppers away from this past Saturday’s St. Louis Street flea market.
The weather did keep some vendors from bringing their wares, but people turned out looking for good buys.
The bimonthly market has previously attracted enough vendors to fill up the street on both sides and down the center from First to Second Street.
“We almost didn’t set up because they kept saying it was going to rain,” said Sheri Jones, whose booth was in front of Larry Mueller’s Gold Shield store at Second and St. Louis streets.
“But as it turns out it’s a good day for chili,” she said. “I’ve sold at least 2 gallons.”
One after another vendor told the same story.
“I wish there were more vendors,” said Jay Jameson of St. Peters, who was making his first visit to Pacific after learning about the event on Craig’s List. Jameson set up tables lined with rings.
“There are plenty of customers,” Jameson said. “So far I’ve done remarkably well.”
Mary Thomure, who lives in Indian Hills, took off her black knit gloves to try on a ring. “I’m a browser,” she said. “I can’t stay away.”
She wasn’t alone. Other customers donned sweaters and coats with hoods to check out the stacks of merchandise to keep vendors busy.
Brandon Seals, 6, and his sister Alyssa, 7, came looking for video games that would play in their PlayStation 2.
“I like this one, but it only plays on X Box,” said Brandon, putting a CD back on the pile. Eventually, Brandon selected Midnight Club. It takes 90 minutes to complete the game.
“It’s really for two. We’ll play it together,” he said, nodding toward Alyssa.
The youngsters are the children of Denise Jolly and David Seals. They attend Zitzman Elementary School and spend most weekends with their grandmother, Betty Littleton, who lives on Fifth Street.
“It seemed like a good outing to bring them over to the flea market,” Littleton said. “They knew what they were looking for.”
Melissa Williams and her sister, Tina Pittman, who formerly had a booth in an antique mall and had decided to get out of the business, set up two tables with a mix of furry critters in Christmas outfits, home décor pieces and things that had come out of their homes.
“It’s just our stuff,” Williams said.
Among their “stuff” was one of the bona fide antiques of the day, a Victorian plush toy, a stuffed dog that their parents gave to Pittman 25 years ago. They paid $200 for it at the time.
“It was very old even then,” Pittman said.
The only markings on the apparatus, which may double as a riding toy, are the words “Made in England,” on the tires. They were asking $75 for it and at 11 a.m., halfway through the 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. sale, they had no takers.
Bob Mueller and Jim Davis, regular vendors at the St. Louis Street events, offered an eclectic mix of old books, belt buckles, old crocks, guitars, new items and used toys. Most of their items were well priced to move.
Mueller who formerly operated the Pacific Auction House — and has a well-known collection of John Wayne memorabilia that he has taken to his home since the auction closed — said he still has a couple of rental spaces filled with items from the auction house that he’s ready to get rid of.
“I’m actually trying to get out of the business,” he said.
Carol Johnson, every vendor’s dream customer, was all smiles carrying two large white plastic bags bulging with soft items.
“They’re maternity clothes in size small and medium,” she said. “Sheri is expecting.”
Johnson’s daughter Sheri Walter lives in Sigonella, Italy, where her husband Sean Walter is chief of operations at the large Naval Air Station on a three-year assignment.
Johnson says her daughter, living near the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, does not have access to the kind of stores she’d find in America.
“It takes seven days for a package to get there,” she said. “I can’t wait for her to try these on.”
At the end of the street, Dan Murphy and Harry Mayle of Eureka were first timers, but were having such a good day they would do it again.
“I’d say we’ve done very well,” Duncan said. “There weren’t a lot of vendors, but there was a steady supply of customers and we think there’ll be more.”
The Downtown Pacific Merchants Association sponsored the event, the fourth in 2012.