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New flea market opening in Roanoke near old Happy's building

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Flea market vendors in the Star City will be back in business this weekend.

Wednesday afternoon, the Board of Zoning Appeals approved a plan for a flea market near Williamson Road.

It's the first time these home businesses have had a place to sell since Happy's Market closed last year.

Bobby Ellis says he hopes to turn his vacant parking lot on Hildebrand Road, right next to where Happy's old building, into a bustling flea market.

"For your mom and pop vendors, it would be a good income for them. A lot of these people, say low to middle income, and they need it," said Ellis.

Ellis says people started contacting him as soon as he came up with the proposal, and now he's ready to open this Saturday.

"I've got some people lined up, ready to go. It doesn't take a lot of planning because people sell their own goods," said Ellis.

Lisa Countryman sold clothing and antiques at Happy's before it closed.

She says losing that space was a disaster for several small businesses.

"A lot of people dispersed. There have been some people that were able to open a thrift store, not everybody has that luxury, and I would invite them to come back out and sell with us too now that we can do it," said Countryman.

Joe Galbraith, who owns Scruggs Transmission nearby, said he supports the idea of a flea market, but worried increased traffic would cause parking problems.

"Mass confusion, that's the only word that I can come up with, because take this in consideration, there's one way in and one way out," said Galbraith.

The Board passed the proposal, but also agreed with Galbraith, limiting the operation of the market to weekends to avoid safety issues.

Ellis says regardless of when they are allowed to be there, vendors are just happy to be back in business.

The new market will open this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.