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Flea market offers deals for holidays
-A-flea market pic 3
Inflatable decorations were among the holiday items for sale at the flea market. - photo by Frank Reddy
While many are flocking to local retailers offering after-Thanksgiving savings, some seek discounts on used items for Christmas gifts and decorations.

On a recent morning, Joy Nelson of Alpharetta browsed the booths at Dixie 400 Flea Market in search of Christmas gifts for her family.

Nelson, 28, said friends dropped her off at the flea market en route to the outlet mall in Dawson County.

“They made fun of me for being a penny-pincher, but money’s tight this year,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to buy everything you need for everybody ... and not go broke in the process.”

Dixie 400 Flea Market is on Ga. 400 in northern Forsyth County.

According to flea market vendor Jimmy Holtzclaw of Forsyth County, business has picked up quite a bit as bargain-hunters seek less expensive Christmas shopping alternatives this year.

Holtzclaw and wife, Pamela, have sold their wares at the flea market for the past couple decades. Over the years, he’s noticed the holiday crowd tends to look for the best deals on bicycles, toys and decorative light bulbs.

“I won’t sell anything unless it works right and looks good,” he said. “I’m very picky about what I carry. I want people to be happy with what they get.”

Pamela Holtzclaw said the secondhand shopping frenzy begins the week before Thanksgiving, and it “really picks up a week or two into December.”

Fellow flea market vendor Homer Patrick of Forsyth County said the financial burden can be heavy this time of year, “especially with the economy the way it is.”

“People come where the discounts are,” said Patrick, who has sold items at the flea market with wife, Rachel, for two years. “People buy a little bit of this, a little bit of that for Christmas.”

Jack Simpson of Dawson County found a little bit of everything at the flea market.

“I got a string of Christmas lights for 50 cents ... all the bulbs work ... and I got a blow-up snowman [yard decoration] for $5,” he said.

Last year, Simpson bought an artificial Christmas tree at the flea market.

“We’ll be using that again this year,” he said.

Glenn Knight of Hall County cut down his own live tree for Christmas, but many of the gifts beneath it will come from the flea market.

“It’s been a really tough year, financially,” said Knight, who shopped with wife Jan. “We’re still going to give our daughter a good Christmas.”

The family bought dolls and dresses for daughter, Amanda, 3.

Leah Martin of Forsyth County shopped for her grandson. She bought a box of encyclopedias for $10.

“He won’t need the Internet anymore with these,” Martin said. “It’s a good Christmas present ... he’ll appreciate it when he gets older, especially.”

Nelson left the flea market clutching several shopping bags. She stood outside waiting for her friends to arrive from the outlet mall.

Sifting through her bags, she showed off the bounty of the morning venture: a ceramic Santa Claus, miniature snow village, used video game system, costume jewelry, stack of paperbacks, several DVDs and an art set.

“I spent about $60,” she said. “I think I did pretty good.”