SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Despite recent rumors going around online that the San Jose Flea Market is set to close, it says it has no plans of doing so anytime soon.
“The Flea Market is open for business and it’s going to be open for years to come,” said Erik Schoennauer, San Jose Flea Market consultant.
The San Jose Flea Market opened in March of 1960 on farmland on Berryessa Road in North San Jose.
For the last 60 years, the Flea Market also known as “La Pulga” in Spanish has become the workplace for many families and vendors selling a myriad of household items, tools, entertainment, fresh produce, and a variety of services.
When rumors that the Flea Market was going to be shutting down to make way for housing, those who depend on it grew worried.
“That’s why we started this association more than anything too, to be that outlet of information for vendors and community members to know what’s really happening behind the scenes,” said Roberto Gonzalez, co-founder of the Berryessa Flea Market Vendor Association.
“Because yeah, it’s taken a long time and the Flea Market it still here, but if we don’t act now and force the city’s hand to step in and make these private landowners incorporate the Flea Market into the development plans, we are going to be displaced,” he added.
“It might not happen tomorrow, it might not happen a year from now but once they break ground and give the vendors a one year notice, that we fought for back in ’07, then we’re going to be displaced, we’re not going to have anywhere to go.”
For the vendors and those who rely on the Flea Market to feed their families, rumors of it closing down along with the challenges of the pandemic brought a lot of confusion and anxiety.
Some vendors tell KRON4 News they don’t always understand the notices the landowners put out for the vendors since they’re usually in English, oftentimes becoming a challenge for vendors who speak another language.
Translation: Spanish to English
“Because they only come to us in English, the papers never do not bring us in Spanish,” said Delia, who has been working at the Flea Market for over 16 years.
“And what we want if they are going to take away or sell to make sure to relocate it here nearby because we are going to be very disrupted.”
The Transit Village project was approved by the city back in 2003 and the Planned Development (PD) Zoning in 2007, with a zoning revision in 2016.
In addition, Schoennauer says there have been numerous PD permit approvals over the last 15 years and for three years, the city required public notice signs to be located at each Flea Market entrance.
Schoennauer said that most vendors are aware of the proposed future development with the goal of eventually finding an alternative location for the Flea Market.
“We the owners and the city have done extensive community outreach about these projects, we have kept the vendors informed about what’s going on over the last 15 years while this has been happening,” said Schoennauer.
“Our goal going into the future is finding an alternative location where we can relocate and reestablish a new public market for San Jose.”
The Berryessa Flea Market Vendor Association has now launched an online petition demanding the city and landowners to make sure vendors are protected and included in any new developmental plans.
Currently, half of the original Flea Market footprint has already been redeveloped with housing and retail development.
Gonzalez tells KRON4 News the vendors and people who work at the Flea Market are not against development but want to make sure they are well-informed on any major changes that they should be made aware of.
“We’re not against development whatsoever, I understand progress needs to be made, but don’t say it’s progress when really it’s gentrification because we’re going to get displaced if we don’t act now.”
The San Jose Planning Commission has a meeting next Wednesday, where a proposal seeks to add residential and commercial capacity to the already-approved Transit Village Project.
The San Jose Flea Market continues to be open every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To watch the upcoming Planning Commission meeting, click here.