Urban Mining Vintage, the first of Kansas City’s First Friday flea markets, has moved to the second floor of 3111 Gillham Road, formerly home of Bitterman Candy.
“Our building changed ownership, and we decided to look around and see what’s out there,” said Heather London, co-owner of Urban Mining. “We happened to have a conversation around that time with Butch Rigby and he had this fantastic space that he was developing and so here we are.”
She also confirmed that rent at their previous location at 3923 Main St. was going to double.
The new space on Gillham is quite a bit bigger, she added, so there will be new vendors and existing vendors have been able to expand their spaces. Unlike at the Main Street shop, where the second floor was filled with mostly mid-century furnishings, the vintage styles won’t seem as segregated at the new place.
“We started on just the first floor (on Main St.) with vintage dealers, and when we expanded upstairs we were doing the same thing but happened to add dealers who coincidentally specialized in mid-century and that’s how that happened,” she said. “It was organic and not planned at all. Now we have two big areas — one larger and one smaller room. The larger dealers will be on the bigger side and the smaller dealers will be in smaller side but not segregated according to style.”
While the flea markets in the West Bottoms open early on First Fridays, Urban Mining gets a jump-start by opening from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, serving a cocktail and light snack. On Sundays, everything in the store is 10 percent off. Urban Mining’s merchandise spans decades and styles.
“We are known for our mid-century modern, our art and as a place to find uncommon and unusual things at a good value,” London told The Star in 2016. “We’re not necessarily the cheapest place in town, but you will get your money’s worth.”
Mary Rouse opened Urban Mining in 2007. Less than a year later, one of Rouse’s vendors left to open Good Juju, the first flea market in the West Bottoms.
In 2011, Rouse sold Urban Mining to London, a vendor at Mission Road Antiques, and Susan Hartnett, a vendor on eBay, and the pair expanded the market to the upper floor of the building that now houses about 40 vendors.
According to London, Urban Mining is known for its vendors.
“We like our vendors to be referred by someone we know,” she said. “It’s important that (they) are good eggs and can get along with each other. We like when dealers work with each other rather than competing. … It also helps to have a great eye and be creative. That way we don’t have a lot of turnover so we don’t have to deal with that anymore.”
Developer Butch Rigby bought the buildings at 3107-3111 Gillham Road in May 2017 for $615,000.
He is leasing other spaces in the building to School Smart Kansas City, a not-for-profit educational group, and Holy Cow Market & Music, an artist/vintage collective. An American-Korean fusion restaurant and another vintage clothing and furniture company will eventually round out the space.