Tag Archives: thrift store

Treasure Hunt

24 May

We made a trip up to the Mile High Flea Market, just northwest of Denver in Henderson, CO, today. I had stumbled across their website while hunting for good thrift stores in the Denver area. I had high hopes of a bustling flea market with some solid though slightly battered wooden furniture, metal washtubs and other oversized containers to use as planters, and of course a few hidden pieces of vintage pyrex tucked in between the floral patterned dishes. Alas, these hopes were all but dashed. The flea market was fairly quiet today, with most of the stalls shuttered, and mostly vacant spaces in the open lot in the  back. The farmer’s market, which appeared to be devoid of farmers, and chock full of produce distributors, was the busiest part of the market, and even there, a general mood of ennui hung over the place.

Wandering the asphalt aisles, mannequins modeling floral jeans and cheetah print leggings stood topless in the sun, and bouquets of colorful plasticware hung from the awnings. One stall was teeming with tools of all sorts, ranging from well-worn, to still in their packages. “Those are out of your price range,” the vendor assured me when I asked the price of some old metal letter dies. I bit my tongue instead of pointing out how overpriced his goods were, and let him make his assumptions about me and my financial prowess (or lack thereof…).

Beyond the painted clapboard stalls, individuals set up yard sale style in the wide open lot. A few sellers sold new items- plastic costume jewelry, knock-off perfumes, and plastic children’s shoes. A few stalls were dedicated to tools, mostly power tools that showed their age, but definitely still had some life in them. Drills, saws, grinders, and compressors basked on tarps in the afternoon sun. In most of the spaces, towering heaps of boxes loomed in the back of card tables mounded with all manner of housewares and toys. Cassette tapes mingle with vases and action heroes, while napkin rings tumble over dinnerware and faceless dolls. Amid the chipped glassware and stained linens, there are a few pieces of milk glass, devoid of chips, and a well-seasoned cast iron frying pan that still has plenty of life in it. As I wander amid the old sewing machine tables and rusty wheelbarrows, I think this is the place that things live on forever. Under these tents, it seems that nothing has ever been thrown away- not a single happy meal toy, laundry basket, or rusty hammer.

While my beau lingers in a pile of dewalt tools, drooling slightly over an oversized air compressor, a leather chair catches my eye. It is slightly worn, but in good condition and a lovely shade of brown- somewhere between saddle and chocolate. After digging around the seams to confirm it’s real leather, I ask the seller what he wants for it, and as has happened over and over again today, he calls out to someone across the aisle to inquire about the asking price. The price is called out in Spanish and I politely wait for the unnecessary translation. I mull over $40 for a leather chair. I offer $25, and threaten to walk away at $35, and in the end, with more trans-aisle yelling, agree on $30. 

In the end we came home with two White Clad end tables, one Snap-On tool box, and the leather chair. So while the flea market was not quite the bustling affair I had hoped for, the trip wasn’t a total bust either. For now, the furniture will look great in the storage unit with the velvety couch and mammoth wooden desk that are already there.