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Council wants more feedback on Castle Street Peddler Flea Market

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Some local businesses say the City of Wilmington cost them some valuable foot traffic after shutting down the Peddler Flea Market on Castle Street.

The city shut the market down last month when it realized the market violated city ordinance. Now neighboring businesses are worried about their losing their own profits.

Three years ago Michael Moore created the Peddler Flea Market on the open property across from his Castle Street antique shop.

"Why not put it to a good use rather than it be a vacant lot that breeds potato chip bags and beer bottles?" Moore said.

Moore says the market has a little something for everyone..

"Neighbors come and shop here," he said.
"We have produce, homemade soaps, handmade jewelry."

But when one of his food vendors recently submitted a health permit, the city realized Moore was violating a mixed use ordinance.

"They will only let us have it every 45 days," Moore said. "Forty-five days doesn't add up to a consistent schedule."

Kelli Benton works nearby and shops regularly at the market. She says it never did any damage.

"People have complained that it is gone. No one complained when it was here," she said.

She says neighboring businesses profited from the foot traffic.

"It helped local people make some money, so it's like a win-win for everyone," Benton said.

That is why Moore says the ordinance needs to be changed.

"It needs to be fixed for the time," he said. "Times are different now. People are doing recycling and refurbishing and repurposing things."

City Council discussed the ordinance at an agenda briefing this morning, but members said they want to hear more from the public before their next meeting in September.

Moore says City Council has been very supportive of everything he has done. That's why he believes they will be able to fix this.

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Flea Market

It has been wonderful to see the positive changes on Castle; the flea market definitely contributes to the area. The empty lot was obviously put to good use and certainly resulted in purchases from local businesses as part of a trip to the market which I would have not otherwise made. Please help this area to continue to flourish by allowing the flea market on a regular basis as it is a worthwhile attraction to this section of town. It's unfair to everyone to discourage opportunities for local businesses to grow their revenue base by increasing foot traffic and to inhibit needed changes to struggling neighborhoods. Please reconsider your actions and allow the flea market to resume operations on a regular basis immediatley. It's rather ridiculous that this has become an issue!

Listen to Michael

Listen folks, Mr. Moore took a chance and moved his antique store to Castle Street years ago and helped take a dead commercial district and planted new life here. A whole district has grown up around him. Listen to the man and put togeather the changes needed to bring the flea market back. You counsel members are here to serve our city and the people, make this happen and make it happen now.