By Nathan Czochera
America’s interest in antiques has been a trend for decades. TV shows like PBS’s “Antique Road Show” and the History Channel’s “American Pickers” and “Pawn Stars” have captivated audiences, and sparked a new-age gold rush as fanatics dig through garages and attics to find their own hidden treasures. Newly installed “Pickers Flea Market” located on 343 W. Prairie St. in Vicksburg is helping to fuel this love affair of all that is old.
Owner and antique enthusiast Greg Nozicka came into the world of antiques and picking just for fun. Working for schools in the area, Greg was looking for something to do during the summer months when school was out, and began simply going to garage sales and flea markets all over southwest Michigan and the Midwest.
“Last summer my wife asked me to clean out some of the stuff in the basement. So I started hauling it to flea markets. And I started to get interested, buying and selling. It got bigger and bigger and turned into this. It’s [been] a lot of fun,” says Greg.
Friends with the Krum family, Greg rented out the old Krum-Hallam car dealership service garage from David Krum, and set up an antique auction house in it in November of 2013. Prompted by the harsh winter, Greg decided in April to turn the auction into a flea market to be open during the warmer months. Greg says business has been great and he’s happy to see customers from the community and abroad coming by to take a look.
“It’s been really well received locally and in surrounding areas,” says Greg. “We have had people from Muskegon, St. Joe and Grand Rapids coming in to buy. The people love it.”
Pickers Flea Market has a wide range of antiques and collectibles ranging from comics, furniture, cast iron, and sports memorabilia to beer mirrors, toys, and Pepsi and Coca-Cola products and coolers. Greg rents out tables and booths for other antique sellers from the area along with his own collection.
Greg says he enjoys his customers, not only for their business but because of their shared interest in antiques. He learns something new from every customer, whether it is about pricing of an item or discovering what it was used for back in the day.
“I get to meet a lot of people. They are fun, especially the senior crowd because they give me a lot of insight on the products [we] have. They can show me how to use [a product] because sometimes I don’t know how to use it,” laughs Greg. “That’s the best part. You learn from everyone that comes in.”
Besides the market, Greg helps customers conduct auctions and estate sales in the area. For a commission, Greg will come out to the homes to help oversee and organize events with auctioneer Ferman Yoder, who also owns Middlebury Auction Center in Middlebury, Indiana.
Greg hopes in the future to add more booths on the outside parking lot of the garage. He recently added a fruit market for customers passing by.
“We would like to expand outside as a general purpose area for the community of Vicksburg. We have been drawing a lot people from out of town. With especially with the name ‘Pickers’ since people see it on TV,” says Greg.
Pickers Flea Market will be ending its season in late October, but will be back next spring. For more information about the market, or other services, contact Greg at (269)-377-7002 or email at email@example.com.