What a real underground man cave flea market looks like
Dale Wilch’s Man Cave bazaar at Dean’s Downtown Underground has what you’d expect: Engine parts. Beer signs. Old Mad Magazines. Cheap squirt guns. Thousands of Hot Wheel cars in their original packages.
And ... Avon products?
That was Linda Haag’s idea. Next to her husband Jim Haag’s overflowing assortment of auto supplies she found enough space on a shelf to peddle cosmetics. The couple has a booth in the swap and shop.
“It’s hard to find Avon ladies anymore,” she said.
Except in Dale Wilch’s Man Cave.
Located in Kansas City’s oldest underground storage facility at 1501 W. 31st St., Dale Wilch subleases portions of his 20,000 square feet to anyone willing to join in. Wife Denise Wilch brings homemade brownies to sell.
This weekly gathering of hawkers and takers — Wednesdays, 6 to 9 p.m. — has something for everyone.
Nobody regards bathtubs for sale a guy thing. Nor would you necessarily think of a clown statue, an antique oxygen ventilator or giant outside sign for Chubby’s burgers to be gender-specific.
Ken Parks has been trying to pawn off the ventilator for some time.
“We’re just here to have fun and try to sell stuff,” said Dale Wilch.
The subterranean offers benefits beyond a constant temperature year-round.
“The phone service can go bad, so the guys come down here and their wives and bosses can’t get ahold of them,” Dale Wilch said.
And in five years of operation, “I’ve never seen a bat,” he added. “Just batty people.”