This is how it began.
As a young man Lewis went to garage sales every weekend taking his two little girls. They enjoyed finding things that other people didn’t want. Eventually, he became a vendor at a flea market sharing a booth with his Dad and two friends. They laughed, drank beer, sold and made gold jewelry. During the 70’s and 80’s Lewis worked for an industrial supply company as operations manager. When the company planned to lay off several employees, who were younger and had families to support, Lewis decided to take early retirement to save their jobs. As faith would have it an opportunity to start his own flea market landed right in front of him.
In 1980, he negotiated a lease and The Admiral Flea Market was born! In the beginning he had five outside vendors! Soon, other vendors ensued and as time went on the Admiral Flea Market bloomed. Honest people, a family atmosphere and bargain merchandise made the business survive even in bad times.
“My hope is that the Admiral Flea Market will prosper for new generations to enjoy!”- Lewis
In 2006 tragedy struck the Admiral Flea Market. Located inside at the electronics booth a power source became too hot and exploded. By the time emergency crews got the fire under control and out over half the building burned. The rebuilding process was met with many issues and heartache. More than a year passed before the building was rebuilt. Vendors could resume their business.
In 2011, Lewis decided to retire leaving his wife Sam (aka the “Big Cheese”) to continue running the Admiral Flea Market. Lewis’s brother Ronnie, since 1980, has driven down every weekend from Missouri to help in the family business.
Over the years the Admiral Flea Market deteriorated looking old and rundown. So in the late winter of 2014, Cali the youngest member of the family and second generation Admiral Flea Marketer, decided she wanted to bring the market back to how she remembered– great, fun, family filled and beautiful. With a bottle of wine to toast she pitched her idea. . .
And so the family remodel took place. Along with Eric they began the inside year and a half remodel. Patching holes, painting, building new walls, building shelves, moving vendors, new furnishings, lots of Home Depot trips, many sleepless nights and days, customizing everything to feel special and to feel inviting.
Now the family is once again moving forward with change. This time it’s the outside. Over the winter the plan includes new fencing, better marked booths, 25 new buildings, trees, parking, sitting areas and entertainment area. Social media outlets include new website, and new Facebook.
Our future plan is continue to set ourselves apart from the few remaining competitors. Give families new memories and traditions together. Strengthen our connection with other small businesses. Provide a place for the arts, food, music and entertainment. To provide crafters, hobbyists, start up businesses, non-profits and special causes a place to achieve their goals. To give Tulsa one more amazing place to visit on the weekends!