The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 27, 2013

Wally Kennedy: Connie’s closing; vendors looking for new spaces

By Wally Kennedy
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — The shake-up in Joplin’s flea markets is continuing.

Connie’s Antiques and Flea Market, 5171 N. Main St., will close its doors by the end of the month. Those with booths in the store have been moving them out for the past week or so.

It would take a full page in this newspaper to explain the circumstances of this closure. Connie’s was on North Range Line Road for many years before relocating last year to the former Trade-X building on North Main Street. The closing is connected to that move. Let’s just say that the flea market business in Joplin can be a bit contentious.

Why is the closure of a flea market worthy of the ink being devoted to it? Well, there are more than 300 booths in Connie’s. The owners of those booths must now find a new home to market their one-of-a-kind treasures. In the process, they will lose some income. It might be small, but it’s still income.

The relocation of the booths is going to have a ripple effect not only in this community, but across the region. I talked to some of the people who were moving their booths out last week. Some said they were relocating their booths to smaller venues in Joplin. One man said he was moving his booth to Fairland, Okla., where Route 66 traffic is strong.

It was noted that some of the booth operators at Connie’s have more than one booth. One man had nine booths. A lot of people are affected by this closure, and so is the community.

Flea markets, when operated properly, are like magnets, attracting people from miles around. Let’s hope Joplin’s reputation for being a great place to shop in flea markets is not damaged by this turn of events.

New Sonic

That building under construction in the 3300 block of South Range Line Road will be a new Sonic Drive-In. If I recall correctly, a Sonic spokesman told me it will be similar in design to the one recently constructed at Eighth Street and Range Line.

It appears that the property north of the drive-in is on the market.

Speaking of Range Line construction, the new Freddy’s Steakburgers restaurant will open in May, according to a recent statement by the company.

Speaking of Main Street construction, I have just seen a rendition of the new shopping center that is proposed for the east side of the 3000 block of South Main. It will be positioned in the center of the block with significant landscaping on all sides. It’s quite impressive.

Downtown mural

The next Art in Public Places mural will be on a blank brick canvas in the 700 block of South Main Street. It’s the south wall of the building that recently was renovated by Corner Greer & Associates, an architectural firm.

A committee will select the winning design and artist in March. The project is to be completed by early summer.

Art in Public Places is underwritten by “Dancing with the Joplin Stars,’’ an annual dance competition held at Downstream Casino and Resort. This year’s event will be held Saturday, March 30.

New senior housing

Forty-two units of senior housing will open in March in the 1200 block of North Range Line Road.

The units in Parkwood Senior Housing will each have two bedrooms. It will be open to those age 55 and up. If you’re interested in a unit, you can have your name placed on a waiting list by calling Mid-America Property Management at 417-447-6303.

Bird man of Joplin

Those bird feeders on a tornado-damaged tree along East 20th Street, east of Indiana Avenue, were put there by a man who works in the plumbing department at Lowe’s.

The bird feeders take about 125 pounds of seed a month. The Ozark Gateway Audubon chapter is donating about a month’s worth of seed for those feeders.

Not only are we taking care of our own after the tornado, we are thinking about our feathered friends, too. That’s remarkable. Only in Joplin.

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, call 623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an email to wkennedy@joplinglobe.com; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 623-8598.