By Thomas Sellers Jr.
It has been a topic in Millington for years.
Whether at a table at Old Timers or underneath a post on Facebook, residents of Flag City talked about what to do with the building sitting at 8323 Highway 51 North.
The former renovated home of Cole’s Do It Center, the structure was rumored to become a bowling alley, entertainment center and even a Lambert’s.
Recent news of the relocation of Mid-South Marketplace and Auction Group to the former Cole’s might bring a bit of all of those entities to the building.
“We started realizing this is more of what we wanted to do,” Marketplace co-owner Nena Stoddard said. “After a year and half down there, we decided to expand. So we’re going to have about 170 vendors over here.
“We’re going to reopen the cafe,” she added. “We’ll have a vintage arcade going in on the other side of the cafe. And the auction house will be there on the end.”
Nena and her husband Jon opened Mid-South Marketplace and Auction Group a few months ago at 9270 Highway 51 North.
“When we moved in down there, we knew this building was vacant at the time,” Nena said. “And we knew this was something we wanted and that would fit in with our goals, our dreams of being able to expand the Marketplace.”
The 46,000 square-foot building will become the home of the market with about 170 vendors, a vintage arcade and a cafe. The target vendors are antiques, vintage and retro items. But Stoddard said the market will also welcome different and more modern items.
“We see all kinds of potential for this place,” Stoddard said. “We knew moving into here that Millington was starved for something like this. We knew Millington would thrive. We knew by doing what we’re doing right here, it would make it a destination.
“People would drive here from Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky and that is our goal,” she added. “We want this to be a place to come to no matter what age.”
The arcade will target the younger demographic with a virtual pinball machine and classic titles to play. The cafe will be open on Fridays during auctions and will be open to the public. As vendors are more established, the cafe will move to full-time, daily hours featuring hamburgers, hotdogs, chilli dogs and a special of the day.
“With the items we’re adding, we just don’t want your antique shopper to come in,” Stoddard said. “We want the person who maybe hasn’t been able to go to an auction before because they have a 10-year-old kid they can’t really leave at home.
“They can bring that child with them, give them some quarters and send them to the arcade,” she concluded. “They can come and sit down to a nice family meal.”
Toward the end of the year Marketplace plans to host auto auctions open to the public at the other end of the facility.
Marketplace will open later this month as vendors are joining. Hours of operation will be Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with extended hours on Friday for auctions. If interested in becoming a vendor, bring pictures of your items or pictures of a current booth you have had in the past.
For more information, call 872-0129.