Brocante Vintage Market owners Sean and Celesta Carter announced earlier this year that the December market would be their last. But the vintage spirit will live on in that same space.
Vintage Marche is moving into the 15,000-square-foot warehouse at 2200 2nd Ave. S in St. Petersburg that has housed Brocante’s monthly markets since 2013. Their first market will be Jan. 4-5, following Brocante’s final market on Dec. 7-8.
“We’re not wasting any time," said new owner Paul D’onofrio, a picker for the past 25 years and a vendor at Brocante for the past three.
When D’onofrio was coming up with a name for the new space, he looked to what the word “brocante” means. It refers to a French vintage market, so he took the market part, “marche” in French, and added the obvious adjective: “vintage."
“The name basically means ‘brocante,’ but different,” D’onofrio said.
It’s an apt metaphor for what Vintage Marche will be: a similar concept, many of the same vendors, but with a new team leading a fresh approach.
The idea to keep a vintage market going in this space came out of D’onofrio and other vendors wanting to preserve the tight-knit community that has grown out of Brocante’s monthly markets.
“We were going to lose our family if we split up,” he said. “A lot of us thought that wasn’t an option.”
D’onofrio, who said he’s been a business owner since high school, started working on a plan in April shortly after the Carters announced Brocante’s closure. He met with other vendors and as a group they came up with some new ideas, like an area for high-end jewelry and a place to display a category of antiques known as “smalls.”
The layout will be different and 13 new vendors will come aboard. A majority of the vendors from Brocante will also sell their wares at Vintage Marche, though D’onofrio made it clear that the new market is a separate entity.
Brocante owner Celesta Carter said she and D’onofrio "have worked hard to make sure that each place will have its own identity and will not be affiliated.”
“The flavor and flair of the vintage market is going to stay the same,” D’onofrio said.
Like Brocante, Vintage Marche will be open the first weekend of every month, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. They’re considering a Friday night party that will feature local artists, folks who don’t fit the vintage market criteria but are a big part of the St. Pete community.
D’onofrio has designed a logo that may help with getting the Vintage Marche brand out there.
“With our design concept being French, I thought of Napoleon, and his love for the bumblebee,” he said. “So I came up with a bee logo. Maybe we’ll come to be known as the bee people or something.”