How to Become a Vendor in New York's Street Fairs, Flea Markets, and Holiday Markets
[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 1/20/2007 - www.Littleviews.com ]
>> With over eight million residents and 44.4 million tourists, more new products are tested for launch in New York City than in any other part of the United States. Despite the proliferation of new things, only a few of these items wind up on store shelves before their popularity is assured. Why?
Budget space in the Flatiron District rents for around $263 per square foot, whereas a nice little shop on 7th Avenue in Midtown costs a shopkeeper around $479 per square foot. (Ref: Another Report, Another Rise in Manhattan Retail Rents, 11/7/2006)
Even with astronomically high store costs, which forces merchants to be very selective about what they sell, people (many of them immigrants) are still able to launch new businesses in the city. Where do they do this? Why, on the city's tried and proven selling ground: the streets and sidewalks of New York.
The Entrepreneur, the Street Fair Vendor, and the Tax Collector
For those of you who think that street sales are a simple matter, New York city and state governments keep tabs on their vendors. Whenever money changes hands, that enterprise must have a state retail (reseller) license.
New York City Street Vendor Licensing
All street food vendors must be licensed by the City of New York.
Best Places to Start Selling
The most easily accessible streets upon which to sell items are those defined within the boundaries of street fairs, flea markets, and holiday markets.
Promoters and Organizers of New York Street Fairs, Holiday Markets, and Flea Markets
Promoters change over the years. As of the beginning of 2007, the following provides a solid list of resources for street, flea, and holiday markets:
1501 Broadway, Suite 1801
New York, NY 10036
Mort and Ray Production 2007 vendor registration costs $45, covering all events except the Feast of San Gennaro. The fee for non-food vendors is between $150 and $210 for a 10'x10' space, depending on the event and the time of application (as of the 2006 fee schedule).
Additional information is provided on their website, including information about a modest monthly license fee charged by the New York Department of Consumer Affairs.
Mardi Gras Productions
83 Maiden Lane
New York, NY 10038
Registration at Mardi Gras Production costs $40, and management will guide you through the process of registering with the state and city. Booth fees are not posted on their site.
Hell's Kitchen Flea Market
including the Antiques Garage, and West 25th Street.
123 W. 18th Street, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10011
Clearview Festival Productions
80 8th Avenue, Suite 415
New York, NY 10011
This is one of New York's major street fair promoters, with over 100 events. Nonfood vendors will pay either $135 or $150. The "national, institutional, and regional corporate rate" is around $250. Vendors must not sell the same merchandise as nearby stores and all must set up and break down in a quiet and professional manner.
There is no application fee for the Green Flea; however, your business must be in order as described on their website. In addition to your application, your merchandise must also be approved. Antique dealers have priority. Crafts are considered. If, however, there are too many vendors of particular types of objects (jewelry, pillows, and hats, for example), Green Flea management will not approve the application until there is an opening.
Booth sizes and prices are posted on Green Flea's website. The smallest size (5'x5') costs between $30 and $20, the mid-size (5'x10') between $40 and $65, and the largest size (10'x12') between $100 and $130, as of its 2006 schedule.
Examples of New York Holiday Markets
Columbus Circle and Union Square
Find out more about the management company at www.Urbanspace.com.
Booth prices at holiday markets are far more expensive than those at street fairs because more display days are involved. That said, a $9,000 booth at Bryant Park's Fêtes de Noel comes to approximately $300 per long business day.
Note that all events on public land are regulated by the city. Park space, such as Bryant Park, that becomes overly commercialized is ripe for community protests and subsequent adjustments. These are not free market development areas.
Booth space opens up in private buildings and on property all over New York, especially around traditional American Holidays. To find event promoters, attend events that are advertised in newspapers and city-oriented magazines, such as TimeOut New York. Promoters will always be present as part of the event's management team, although you might have to hunt them down.
Just Do It!
It takes guts to sell on the street, yet with proper planning and help from street fair managers, what you can accomplish might enrich you for the rest of your life.
Article and photos by Karen Little. First published on 1/20/2007. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.