Major flea market coming to Monett

Monday, January 14, 2013
Jackie and Janice Harris stand inside the former J.C. Penney's store in Monett, most recently used as The Woods at 410 E. Broadway. The Harrises plan to reopen the store as the Find It Again Antiques and Flea Market. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]

The old J.C. Penney's building at 410 E. Broadway will soon become an active business again. Jackie and Janice Harris have purchased the building and plan to open Find It Again Antiques and Flea Market.

The Harrises have lived in Monett since 2006 but have deeper connections in the community. Jackie grew up in Monett and graduated from Monett High School in 1972. He has worked for many years for Tyson Foods, living in different locations based on his assignment. He has worked as a supervisor for Tyson in Monett since 2006.

An Arkansas native, Janice began coming to Monett as a teenager, after Tyson Foods purchased the Mozark poultry plant in 1969 and sent her brother-in-law, Wilburn Riddell, as plant manager. Janice came to babysit for the Riddells during the summers, at which time she first met Jackie. She presently provides daycare service in her home.

The Harrises owned the Cut Rite Market in Purdy for about two years before the grocery store burned down in the 1980s.

Once the Penney's building, which last housed The Woods, became empty in 2011, Jackie saw it as an ideal site for an antiques and flea market.

"The opportunity came up. We thought this was the right time," Jackie said.

The Harrises envision placing booths in the main shopping area of the first floor. The narrower room on the east side will be used for displaying vintage furniture.

As collectors themselves, the Harrises have a feeling for the antiques business. They have attended auctions for 20 years, picking up oddities. Janice has a varied collection of glassware and enjoys stripping and restoring unique furniture. They have booths in a couple area flea markets.

"We lived in Monett when we were first married, 40 years ago," Janice said. "I remember shopping at J.C. Penney's. It was neat thinking about owning something like that. We have sentimental feelings about downtown Monett."

The couple plans to open the lower floor and use income from the business to make repairs on the upper level. Jackie said he plans to install central heating and air conditioning by the summer. They plan to retain the look of the old store, with its vintage light fixtures and tin ceiling.

Both of the Harrises plan to keep their present jobs. They hope to open by March 1 and hire someone to staff the store until Jackie gets off work in early afternoon. They would like to have the store open seven days a week, like the V.B. Hall Antiques Mall, including a half day on Sunday to attract weekend shoppers.

"We want to be part of getting people to come back downtown to shop," Jackie said.

Between 80 and 100 booths will fit in the lower level. Janice would like to set up a lounge where family members can rest while others shop. The Harrises are creating a floor plan that will be easy to navigate and not where customers get lost in a maze.

"There are flea markets we've been in with dishes, silverware, everything you would need to equip a house," Janice said. "A lot of time people simply get tired of things. I'm a people watcher. I've been in many flea markets and heard people say, 'My mom had one of those.' That's where the name came from, 'Find it Again.'

"We want to be a hospitable place that people feel at home in," Janice added.

Information about booth space is available by calling Jackie at 417-489-5056.

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