Flea Market vendors speak out against Mayor Barry's proposed MLS - WSMV News 4

Flea Market vendors speak out against Mayor Barry's proposed MLS stadium

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(WSMV File) (WSMV File)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Hundreds of people spent their Black Friday shopping at the Nashville Flea Market, but its future is uncertain now that Mayor Megan Barry's administration is pushing for a Major League Soccer stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville

"No MLS at the Fairgrounds -- right city, wrong location," the flyers say. 

The Nashville Flea Market Vendors Association is opposed to the potential Major League Soccer stadium that may be built on the fairgrounds property, saying it would disrupt flea market operations during the five-year construction process.

The stadium would be right in the footprint of some prime buildings the flea market has inhabited over the last five decades. 

"This is where the new stadium will be, right here," explained Dick Dickerson, head of the Vendors Association.

Dickerson's group endorsed Mayor Megan Barry when she ran for mayor in 2015, but now they say she's going back on her campaign promise to protect The Fairgrounds.

Read more: Mayor Barry says fairgrounds would be best site for MLS team

"When she got in, it's almost like she's forgotten us," Dickerson said. 

Now that the fairgrounds seems like the most likely place for the proposed stadium, many flea market vendors worry they'll be put out of business. 

"I feel like we wouldn't have anywhere to go. Having a soccer stadium would tear us apart," said Tomeka Bogan, a vendor selling her wares during the Flea Market's Black Friday sale. 

"I think they could find another place," said Preston Mulvene, another vendor. "The Nashville Flea Market has been here for quite a while. There are a lot of us who depend on it for our livelihood."

Mulvene sells at other flea markets across the Southeast and says Nashville is a perfect fit for what is an enormously successful flea market. 

"We've done a lot of markets -- there's none like here," Mulvene explains. "Country music goes together with flea market. It doesn't go together with a soccer stadium."

Read more: Investment group unveils renderings for MLS stadium in Nashville

The Nashville Flea Market takes place on the third weekend of each month, and critics of the soccer deal worry what will happen when soccer games conflict with their schedule. 

Shoppers we talked to today had mixed feelings. Some are excited about the prospect of a professional soccer coming to Nashville. 

"I play soccer," said Chase Stovall. "I think it would be great."

"I've wanted them to do that for a while," said Aiden Spears, another shopper. 

But many of the vendors and shoppers who have visited the Nashville Flea Market for years are not quite sold on the idea of a new stadium in its place. 

"It's been here all my life. I'd hate to lose it now," said Melinda Bailey, who comes to the flea market from Gallatin almost every month. 

"Don't take it away from us," Mulvene said. "It's well supported. It's loved by a lot of people. I don't think they really know what's going to happen."

The Mayor's office says they will work with the Flea Market vendors during the construction process to make sure they have suitable temporary accommodations. 

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