Bart’s Flea Market is a unique store that resembles much like a treasure hunt. With a 4.5 rating and moderate price range on Yelp.com, shoppers are sure to find any and everything they don’t need in this funky store. Bart’s is Wyoming’s largest indoor flea market selling antiques year-round with hours from 10am to 6pm. The antique store is even recommended on the Visit Laramie website.
Bart’s Flea Market, formerly known as Gibson’s, is located on Soldier Springs Road in Laramie, Wyoming. Bart’s has been running for over 20 years but only owned by Gary Crawford (current owner) the last 9 years. Bart’s Flea Markets’ name derives from the original owner’s dog. Although there is another Bart’s in Cheyenne, they have not been paired businesses, “for quite some time,” according to Albert Tremblay.
Bart’s Flea Market offers allocated plots for outside vendors to bring in their own nifty stuff to sell. Tremblay said, “We rent space for $1.50 by the square foot and with over 120 booths and 90 vendors, this is our main income.” Bart’s has an annual income that ranges from $500,000 to $1 million.
They have everything from antique finds to jewelry, books and clothing. They even have corky items like an old cow scrotum basket filled with flowers. They have beginner cowboy items like leather, saddles and boots. The front sidewalk is even filled with items for sale like rustic wagon wheels and windmill parts. Bart’s has everything a college student could need to furnish an apartment including furniture and dish ware. They also have a sunlit succulent section, and Bart’s wouldn’t be complete without it’s eccentric wildlife mounts found in the very back.
Albert Tremblay, known as Al, is the current manager and has been an employee for three years now. He is originally from Syracuse, New York. He was brought to Laramie to remain closer to his son. Tremblay is known for his eclectic 1800’s western fashion sense. The shorter statured, weathered man is easily identifiable with his classic coke-bottle glasses and silver muttonchops beard. He is the primary caretaker of Bart’s Facebook page and the creator of the comical bear videos. He acts out scenes with items in the store and builds stories around them, he says his goal is, “for people to not forget about Bart’s.” Tremblay comes out with new ones every two days and says he gets his ideas from, “just walking around.”
Seth Tastad, one of the many vendors at Bart’s, was born and raised in Laramie. He is a building caretaker at St. Matthew’s Cathedral. He has been supplying items in his own booth to Bart’s for seven or eight years. His niche is old tools, knives and clocks. He finds a lot of interest in military history, especially around the 1800’s-1900’s era. He also sells stuff on his own eBay account like the more specialized, expensive items. He primary finds his articles from garage sale hunting and finds stuff in Iowa and Georgia when he visits family along with antique stores. Tastad also says, “It’s a way for me to get rid of hoard stuff from family.”
“No matter how long you look, you can still find new stuff, there’s always something,” comments Tastad.
As a vendor he says, “there is a family atmosphere here once you get to know the people.” Ruth Williams, with her vibrant red lipstick and blonde hair, is originally from England and is a frequent customer. She came to Laramie with her husband, who works at the University of Wyoming, 15 years ago and owns a cupcake business known as the Sugar Mouse Cupcake House. Her sweet tooth business keeps a child in an orphanage in Cambodia for one day longer and she states, “This is to keep them out of the hands of child trafficking.” She comes to Bart’s to search for weird stuff but was specifically looking for display cases on March 6th. Williams appreciates the very fun people and, “really hopes this place stays open.”
Williams also says, “I love all the weird new stuff in this antique store,” and rarely does she ever leave empty handed when she visits.
Tremblay refers to Bart’s as a, “poor man’s museum.” There is a sense of history in the antiques and you can see each vendor’s passions from booth to booth. He also stated, “Gary loves western history and is a talented artist.” It’s evident that all the employees and owner love this store and have made it a lifestyle.
Even though Tremblay says, “Business from college students has been down with the growing trend of fully furnished apartments,” Bart’s still gets a lot of customers from the University. Tremblay said once most customers come in for the first time, they return. This store could be a college student’s dream for a fun day trip and the secretaries at the front said, “we see a lot of photography and art students in here.”