A flea market on the northern edge of Elizabethtown, which has offered deals on everything from vintage toys and collectibles to household goods and eyeglasses for more than three decades, is closing next month.
The 12.403-acre site off U.S. 31W where Bowling Lanes Flea Market sits has been sold to TDA Properties, a business owned by local developer Tim Aulbach. It sold for $100,000 per acre or $1,240,300, according to a deed transfer filed with the county clerk’s office.
Aulbach has no immediate plans for the site. He has developed commercial and residential properties across the community. The metal building and ancillary structures on the property will be removed as it is prepared for development, Aulbach said.
The property has 400 feet of frontage on U.S. 31W and sits alongside Dix-E-town Lanes, which is not impacted by the sale, Dean Taylor said.
Taylor and his brother, David, had owned both properties. The bowling alley, which has operated at the site for nearly 60 years, will continue as usual with league play and recreational activities.
Dean Taylor said the bowling alley sits on a separate 27-acre tract.
Over the years, he said many brokers and potential buyers have approached the family about its property. For example, six to eight months before Kohl’s broke ground on its Elizabethtown store, Taylor said the company was considering the same property sold to Aulbach.
The bowling alley opened in 1963. B.L. Taylor, their father, was one of the five founders and served as its president and manager for nearly a quarter century. It has been solely owned by the Taylor family since 1988, Dean said Tuesday in an interview.
A sign posted near the flea market’s front entrance says its last sale date is March 29.
It was developed in the 1980s during the heyday of that form of retail swap centers. Over the years, the space under roof doubled and outdoor booths spilled into the gravel parking area.
Taylor said he once considered the business recession proof. In fact, he said in economic hard times, more vendors would look to rent space to sell their discards, collections and yard-sale finds.
Like many businesses, Taylor said the concept lost its hold to convenience provided by the internet.
“First it was eBay, then swap sites and now my own kids are selling things on Facebook,” he said.
Another sign of the changing times can be found in the property transfer. The formal legal description, which is carried forward from previous deeds, describes it as 4.5 miles northwest of Elizabethtown. Today that property is inside the Elizabethtown corporate limits and is zoned for commercial use.