It only took one visit to Caesar Creek Flea Market in Wilmington for experienced retail executive Al Bell to accept the President and CEO position with Levin Service Co., the parent company of the market.
“The diversity of the shops and merchandise being sold immediately caught my attention,” he explains. “That with the excitement and enthusiasm I saw there made me sure that the future of this market could be bright.”
After nearly 35 years in the retail industry with brands like Big Lots, KB Toys, and Moochie & Company, Bell sees a real opportunity to shape the next steps of the market. While Caesar Creek Flea Market has served shops and shoppers for over 25 years, a fire in 2012 dramatically impacted business operations and a slow reopening failed to raise the public’s awareness of recovery efforts. Bell has a plan to change that perception and bring back the avid treasure hunters.
“Bringing in new shops, improving the overall environment, and hosting regular family-friendly events will make the market a destination again,” Bell says. “Hunting for that specific home decor treasure or vintage piece at a deep discount is so much more satisfying than clicking around an online store. Families from Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus are going to make that country drive to visit us for a day of fun and that special something that will improve where their homes.”
So far this year, Caesar Creek Flea Market has received anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 shoppers, but Bell envisions 10,000 to 12,000 customers each weekend. Already, Bell has taken steps to reach this goal through hiring a new general manager and updating the exterior and interior of the market. His fresh perspective and commitment to collaboration are sure to move the market toward a positive future for shops, shoppers, and the surrounding community.