Saturdays at empty Strawbridge's, flea market returns

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Franklin Flea is returning to 8th and Market on Saturdays, starting April 19 through May 24, 10 a.m. 5 p.m. (Sean Woods, file)

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust , the Philadelphia firm that owns the Gallery at Market East and shopping malls in Cherry Hill, Willow Grove, Plymouth Meeting and other suburbs, says Mark Vevle's Franklin Flea weekly indoor flea market -- Franklin Flea -- will set up again on Saturdays, starting April 19 through May 24, 10 a.m. 5 p.m., at the former Strawbridge & Clothier store at 8th and Market, next to the Gallery, downstairs from the Inquirer's newsroom, just as the nearby Kmart is in the last stages of shutting down.

The Franklin Flea last operated weekends before Christmas at the site. PREIT says it "will reopen in its original space on April 19th for a six-week run" selling "antiques, furniture, clothing and artisan goods from local vendors, along with "Franklin Stove, . New to this Flea will be the introduction of the Franklin Stove, a special food booth featuring a different celebrated Philadelphia restaurant each week.

Maybe it's no substitute for a seven-day, permanent retailer. But, says PREIT boss Joseph Coradino in a statement: “We see Franklin Flea as a representation of the potential of the entire Market East district, so we are excited to bring this market back to The Gallery, where it all began. The one-of-a-kind merchandise and vendor offerings speak to the unique blend of fashion and culture we look forward to seeing everyday once we complete The Gallery’s redevelopment.”

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