WSJ Trundles Out to Brimfield Fair

Friday’s Wall Street Journal A-Hed was a total flea market maker.

Giant Flea Market Means Big Haul for Porters

Able-bodied entrepreneurs bring in bucks carting collectibles; moving a carousel horse

BRIMFIELD, Mass.—Three times a year, traffic on U.S. Route 20, the main street of this sleepy New England hamlet, resembles rush hour in Los Angeles or New York. Motels switch on “no vacancy” signs as people from around the world come to shop at the Brimfield Outdoor Antiques & Collectibles show, one of America’s largest flea markets. But how do you get a carousel horse across a crowded field to your car a half-mile away?

HC-GT687_Porter_G_20150611172050Order a porter.

The porter industry has grown up haphazardly beside the Brimfield show, which happens every May, July, and September. Typically, guys with “porter” scrawled in permanent marker across their white T-shirts wander the show offering to carry finds for a fee. But a new generation of schleppers is getting organized.

To wit:

“We’re selling a branded service, like Uber,” said 26-year-old Kyle Quinn, CFO and COO of Speedy Porters, that operates at Brimfield. The brand has a lot to do with its shirts: neon orange, with “Speedy Porters” and a phone number screen-printed on the back. CEO Evan Genereux, 25, has been ferrying things around the loosely organized chaos of the show since he was 10 years old.

But oddly, despite the Uber comparison, there’s not an app for that. Walkie-talkies are more the order of the day for the porter patrol.

Read the whole piece. It’s a hoot.

(Next Brimfield show: July 14-19.The hardtiquing staff will not be there.)

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