Cape antique dealer plans Second Saturday Trade Days

Wednesday, September 3, 2008
AARON EISEHAUER ~ aeisenhauer@semissourian.com Charles Bertrand has started an event called Trade Days in Cape, which happens every second Saturday.

Charles Bertrand sees a potential for growth on Broadway in downtown Cape Girardeau.

Bertrand, who owns Spanish Street Mercantile antique store at 26 N. Spanish St., is hoping Second Saturday Trade Days will contribute to the revitalization of Broadway and downtown.

Held on the second Saturday of each month in a parking lot near 501 Broadway, the trade market features mostly used merchandise found at an antique store, produce and other food items such as honey and homemade jams. The trade market kicked off Aug. 23, with about 200 shoppers purchasing about $2,400 worth of goods from four antique dealers.

Bertrand said a date change from the third to the second Saturday is an example of moves organizers may make in the future to turn the event into a success. The upcoming trade market is scheduled for Sept. 13.

"While we welcome dealers from Cape Girardeau, our hope is to eventually make this a time where dealers from throughout the Midwest rent out a small space to sell from the parking lot here," Bertrand said. "We want Cape Girardeau to become a destination for others to sell items and for locals and out-of-town guests to come to on a regular basis. But we'll start small and eventually get to that point."

A former superintendent of a school district in Texas and a native of Cape Girardeau, Bertrand moved downtown in 2002 because he wants to play an active role in the city's revitalization.

"I'm very interested in seeing the downtown become a major part of the city," Bertrand said. "I'm here for a reason and that's to help make downtown a viable tax-producing economy by helping the city grow through events like trade days."

When Bertrand lived in Texas, he attended First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas, on a regular basis. He believes what the East Texas town experienced could happen in Cape Girardeau.

Originally held on Mondays beginning in the 1850s, the event's popularity resulted in its expansion to a four-day trade market. During the trade days, this community of 5,100 people mushrooms to more than 100,000 people.

Eventually, Bertrand hopes the trade market turns into a year-round trade event featuring goods sold inside the building at 501 Broadway. While Bertrand will continue sell antique items inside the structure built in the 1880s, he also plans to offer coffee and ice cream to customers using an old-fashioned ice cream bar.

"If we eventually get to the point where dealers are coming from out of town for the trade days, they'll have to have lodging and restaurants to eat at," Bertrand said. "And that feeds back into the local economy."

For more information on participating in Second Saturday Trade Days, contact Bertrand at 334-1790.

bblackwell@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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