PORTLAND — Where can you find a vintage suitcase, an acoustic guitar and a painting of a parrot, all in the same square foot?
The same place you’ll find boat-style bowling shoes, high-end harmonicas and hand-knit fingerless gloves.
Those were among the items for sale at the opening of Flea-for-All in Portland on Saturday. About 50 vendors had their wares on display at the two-story flea market housed in the former Asia West furniture showroom on Kennebec Street.
Vintage aprons hung from a ladder leaning against a wooden post, and women’s sandals sat on the rungs.
“There are so many artisans and collectors that can’t afford their own space, and this was the perfect venue,” said Nathaniel Baldwin, who runs the flea market with his fiancee, Erin Kiley.
The architecture and exposed beams drew the Portland couple to the space and enabled them to realize an idea they’d been floating for a couple of years.
Baldwin, a landscaper, and Kiley, who works at the Boys & Girls Club in Portland, frequently travel to Arundel to look for antiques and to Brunswick for the flea market in Fort Andross. It was baffling to them that there wasn’t something similar closer to home.
“We saw a big hole in Portland’s landscape and wanted to take advantage of it,” Baldwin said.
Apparently, others felt the same way. Hundreds of people flooded through the doors soon after they opened Saturday morning, Kiley said.
“It was hard to walk around,” said Baldwin.
The flea market will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
By Saturday afternoon, Shelley Stevens of Portland had already been there twice.
She bought a pair of earrings in the morning when she went with her mother. In the afternoon, she brought a friend, Dawn Emery of Falmouth, who picked a feathered hat and a floral tablecloth.
“You never know what treasure you might find,” Stevens said.
Although many of the vendors were selling their own crafts, from furniture to light fixtures, others were reselling items they’d amassed over the years.
Kristen Bartlett, for one, was hoping to thin out her collection of vintage bowling accessories.
Bartlett started buying up the bags and shoes when she joined a bowling league a couple of years ago.
“Originally, I was looking for the perfect bag, and I kept finding one that was more perfect,” she said.
The location, right across the street from Bayside Bowl, couldn’t be better for her business at the flea market.
Baldwin said he hopes the flea market can contribute to the growing popularity of the West Bayside neighborhood as place to open a business.
“It has a feel that it’s starting to fulfill its potential,” he said.
Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: email@example.com