Economy, crime force vendors away from flea marketare

7th Avenue Flea Market oldest in Florida

Published On: Dec 28 2012 05:14:01 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 28 2012 06:36:25 PM EST
NORTH MIAMI, Fla. -

It is the oldest flea market in the state of Florida, and bit by bit, crime and the economy are tearing it apart.

"The last half of the year vendors are moving out. Vendors are not paying the rent," said the flea market's owner, Gyule Kis.

Norma, who wanted to keep her last name anonymous, says she was working when armed gunmen walked into the 7th Avenue Flea Market on Christmas Eve and started shooting.

"The guys they came in they were like very brutal," she said.

The hairstylist ran when they started shooting, and helped picked up the pieces when it was all over.

But when Local 10's Sasha Andrade tried to talk to her about the robbery, she had something else on her mind.

"The only thing I'm worried about is just the people coming back," Norma said.

Times are so hard, Kis also works as the flea market's security guard and maintenance man.

Ken Knight is the president of the merchant's association.  He says there are more than 50 small businesses in here that need help.

"These are people with families. They have children," Knight said.

He feels the government needs to step in and provide funding for things like advertising and, most important of all, security. 

"In our talking with the mayor he knows about the issues of security. He knows about the issues of advertisement," Knight said.

But people aren't going to shop in a place where they don't feel safe, and who can feel safe next to bullet holes.

"It really hurts us," Knight said about the recent robbery.