Hop over to Grand Strand’s three flea markets for surprise finds

Feeling like browsing for some odds and ends and other things that could be treated as treasures? One garage sale this weekend could lead to a year-round fetish for browsing at the three major flea markets across the Grand Strand.

Myrtle Beach’s 29th annual “South Carolina’s Garage Sale” will fill the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, at Oak Street and 21st Avenue North, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8 (843-918-1235 or www.cityofmyrtlebeach.com/garagesale.html). Admission is free, and parking $5, for a bazaar that city data show will number a record 320 vendor spaces, in and outside the halls. Registration to book those slots sold out in 15 minutes, too.

If that sale is not enough to whet an appetite to shop without any grocery list – and with tourist season slowing a tad for the fall shoulder season – get out and check out three grand-size flea markets that each anchor an area of the Grand Strand:

— Grand Strand Vendor Mall, 3826 S. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, in Glenmark Shopping Center – for which Food Lion is anchor – and across from northernmost forest of Myrtle Beach State Park. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily for October. 843-424-8030 or grandstrandfleamarket.com.

— Everything Under the Sun Flea Market, 811 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays. 843-427-7426, www.everythingfleamarket.com, or www.smokyenterprises.com/euts/.

— Hudson’s Surfside Flea Market, 1040 U.S. 17 Business S., Surfside Beach, beside Wild Water & Wheels. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays-Sundays through March, adding Thursdays for April, May and September, and open Tuesdays-Sundays from June through August. 843-238-0372 or www.surfsidefleamarket.com.

Each place provides a casual shopping experience full of variety. Most of all, flea market shoppers in general bring business to local merchants.

About 25 vendors operate at the Grand Strand Vendor Mall – which opened in 2015 in the right half of the complex that housed the former Myrtle Beach Flea Market – and where plans for a change in management this autumn are known among merchants.

For people who like to mail postcards, a 4-for-$1 deal at some of the vendors can bring smiles to some loved ones’ faces, or even as thank-you notes – never mind that the postage to mail one – 34 cents – exceeds the cost of the card itself, but all in all, it’s still a great deal, from mailer to recipient.

A postcard displaying various shark teeth that might be found along our coast could work out perfectly with some signed gratitude for a dentist, orthodontist, oral surgeon, or periodontist – or a fan of the San Jose Sharks NHL franchise. Another postcard outlining a slew of outdated S.C. laws such as “Musical instruments may not be sold on Sunday” and “Horses may not be kept in bathtubs” could turn around a frown, and most likely some eyebrows, for the recipient opening his or her mailbox.

Walk by The Spoiled Pet food and supply store there, on the far right side of the complex, and see an attendant cradling a cute, cuddly sugar glider, a wide-eyed marsupial about a foot long from nose to tail tip.

Besides everyday wares from other merchants, such as souvenir T-shirts, beach towels, and cell-phone accessories, browsers might stop and run their hands through a bucket of Myrtle Beach emblazoned key chains with dozens of names from which to choose – maybe with Sara and Sarah, and Clare and Claire, as options – or other collectibles such as antiques, coins, or video game cartridges from the origins of home video consoles such as Atari.

About 150 vendors are spread across more than a dozen corridors at Hudson’s Surfside market, established in 1975. Gentry’s Watches is the first entry to the right in the front building that’s furthest to the right. Personnel there provide quick, bargain replacement of wristwatch batteries for just a few dollars. Just drop off a watch needing some new juice, shop around on the premises for an hour or so, and pick up the repair ticking again on the way out. Notice, too, that the front buildings at Hudson’s form a row, whereas the back series of passages are all connected.

The Everything Under the Sun site, in business since 2010 in North Myrtle Beach – near Harbor Freight Tools and across from Big Lots and Dick’s Pawn – boasts more than 30 vendors, and about 20 consignment shops. The items for sale in this site which could house a whole supermarket also include large articles as furniture, appliances, and other home furnishings.

Each flea market site provides its own experience different from the other two, each with surprise finds. Whether someone’s looking for things common or uncommon – a new nylon wallet, oven burner covers, secondhand music and concert DVDs, or maybe a classic jigsaw puzzle touting the original “Charlie’s Angels” series that aired in the late 1970s and early ’80s – but with Cheryl Ladd, instead of Farrah Fawcett, as the Monroe sister among the trio pictured – then hop on over to a flea market.

The gift-giving season is around the corner, too, right after Halloween and harvest time.

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