Vendors at Traders Village sad about closing

Matthew Lane • Apr 1, 2018 at 12:00 PM

KINGSPORT — The few remaining vendors at Traders Village have to be out of the building by April 15. Goodwill Industries of Tenneva plans to purchase the 20-acre site and redevelop it for its processing center, a new retail store and a first ever outlet store.

Last week, some of the vendors were beginning to box up their products. The Times News spoke with several, all of whom understood the reason behind the sale. Nevertheless, they were sad and said they would miss the people they have come to know over the years.

Robert Loudy, 75, of Kingsport, has been selling comic books and other odds and ends in Traders Village for nearly 30 years. For now, he plans to take his 14-booths’ worth of stuff to the house, then figure out where to go next.

“I knew it was going to happen and I can’t blame them. If they could get anything out of it, I figured they’re going to sell it,” Loudy said, noting he’s made many friends at Traders Village. “I don’t know all of their names, but I know them when I see them.”

Patsy Wiggins of Church Hill specializes in knives, handmade blankets, sporting goods and Native American collectibles. She started out selling handmade jewelry at local flea markets and eventually moved into Traders Village about nine years ago.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of friends and I hate to leave,” Wiggins said. “I hope to find another place to reopen, maybe get a building big enough for three or four of us (vendors) to go in together and have our own little place.”

Anthony Tilley of Gate City has been at Traders Village for 20 years, seeing the good days and the bad.

“It’s like busting up a family. I really would have liked to stayed here,” Tilley said. “I think I’ll go home and think about (what to do next). I’ll probably hit the flea markets, but there’s nothing else close that makes any money. This place has always been good to me. It’s like I’m losing my family.”

Another longtime vendor, who wished to remain anonymous, understood the reason behind the sale and said she’s ready to go to the house.

“I’ve been here a long time, made a lot of money and good friends that I’ll always have,” she said. “There’s no need to get upset.”

Becky Hurlock, the co-owner of A to Z Discount Products and Salvage, said she doesn’t have any hard feelings about the whole deal, though she does feel the vendors should have been given more of a heads-up when the owners were about to sell.

“We had 27,000 square feet of merchandise we had to get rid of. That was hard and difficult,” Hurlock said. “It’s just business and there aren’t any hard feelings.”