North Fort Myers Flea Market closes after 6 decades

Published: May 26, 2021 6:22 PM EDT

A flea market operating for six decades in North Fort Myers opened for the last time on Wednesday.

The property, once home to a drive-in theater, was sold earlier this month, and the farmers who have been selling produce there for decades have to find a new location.

The owner of the Tamiami Trail property wasn’t available Wednesday, but vendors said he’s probably going to use the land to store things like boats. In any case, the place won’t be home to a flea market any longer.

There are just some things you can’t find in a grocery store.

“It’s a social gathering, too. It’s a social gathering, you know, you meet people,” said Ellie Nowack, a longtime visitor of the flea market where customers could find everything from fruits and vegetables to bait and tackle.

Phil Brewster of Sunrise Citrus Farm said he couldn’t count the number of friends he has made over the years at the market, and those friends include Bob Waite, who became a partner and sells produce right alongside Brewster.

“I came up as a customer, and we got chatting like you and I are right now… I’ve been doing that for going on 20 years with this guy right now,” Brewster said.

But after almost 60 years, this slice of old Florida is no more.

“It’s been one of the best markets I’ve ever had. And today’s the last and final day, it’s gone,” Waite said.

Gone, but not forgotten. Brewster and Waite will still sell their produce on Wednesdays, but down the road at the Shell Factory.

“We’d like to stay open. It’s been fun,” Waite said.

“We look forward to seeing you next Wednesday,” Brewster said.

Whether they’re your friends or you love the other vendors at the North Fort Myers Flea Market, you can find them back at it this next Wednesday at the Shell Factory.