Florida on a Tankful: Visit Brocante Market... or wait

By Scott Fais, Feature Reporter
Last Updated: Saturday, April 01, 2017, 10:01 AM EDT

Outside downtown St. Petersburg sits a warehouse that doesn’t see much traffic, except for one weekend a month.

"Hi. How are you this morning?" asks a warm greeter on a stool at the door, measuring foot traffic holding a hand clicker counting each person allowed inside.

"This building itself used to be a former piano factory,” said Celesta Carter walking through the concrete block structure.

"Two more. Good morning. How are you?” the greeter continues.

Folks will line up to get inside just once a month.

"I guess we consider ourselves a new-age vintage market," Celesta said describing her “Brocante Market,” an attraction within its own right.

"It's a French word for the second-hand goods trade,” she shared (In "brocante," the e is silent).  

Trinkets, old cameras, and nostalgia line the shelves; the shelves of the vintage furniture also for sale.

"They will extract them from different places, and bring back things that aren't available here regionally,” Celesta explained of her buyers who scour Ohio and other northern states. Everything they haul back to Florida and place on sale is 25 years old, or older.

It's not a thrift store. It's not a flea market. It’s not a garage sale.

Brocante is an eclectic shopping destination.

Celesta says on the first weekend of the month, she'll see a line of 300 people waiting to get in, all to shop for older furniture, articles and decor.

The items are arranged in what are called vignettes or “spaces,” much like a traditional furniture store that sells new items. Walking through the 20,000-square-foot-market, one can sense a subtitle division of space.

Yet, Celesta isn't alone.

"We were the good, ole' office romance,” she said about meeting her husband outside the market at their “real” jobs.

Since 2013, Sean Carter has shared Celesta's dream of collecting and selling vintage goods.  Sean routinely goes on buying trips, along with the 49 other vendors who sell their items the market. 

"We clean it. We repurpose it.  We redesign it,” Sean said of the items on display, while standing behind a stack of old LP records and expired license plates.

"I have a network of pickers that work just with me. And they know what I like,” Sean explained.

To keep the Brocante Market fresh, items only get three months to sell or get tossed.

"I don't care where it has to go. But it has to go,” Celesta said with passion.

If an item for sale appears for its third and final month, it will be marked with a blue tag. After the store closes on Sunday, the items with blue tags will be removed.

"Sometimes you think something is going to be awesome, and nobody buys it,” she said. "Instead of cluttering it up, and keeping it here, get it out of the way, put something new in its place.”

If you miss the market this month, don’t fret. It will open again next month on the first Saturday and Sunday.

Know Before You Go:
The Brocante Market is only open on the first Saturday and Sunday each month. Find more details here. Items can be taken home the same day or arranged for pickup at a later date.  Parking may be difficult to find.  Side streets can offer your best bet when the lot is full. 

Tankful on Television:
Catch Florida travel stories like the one above on Television four days a week across Central Florida. The award-winning Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais airs on News 13 Thursday through Sunday. See new segments in the Bay Area as well on Bay News 9. Stories air beginning at 6 a.m. on both channels as a Spectrum exclusive.