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Market finds 

Rather than risking big box stores during the holidays, flea markets are where the real deal shopping can be done

The shopping season seems to sneak closer and closer to the holidays every year. Between "Black Friday" turning into "Grey Thursday," and endless websites that will ship whatever you want to your house without leaving the comfort of your sweat pants and your couch, the art of finding that truly unique gift for family and friends, without draining your bank account, seems lost sometimes.

There is a resurgence, though. Shopping local is becoming more and more en vogue. And that's a good thing for two reasons: one, it helps support our community, and two, there's an endless treasure trove of items to be found at local flea markets that you just can't find at the big box stores or online.

Below, you'll find a treasure map, if you will, to some unique spots in the Rochester area to help get all of your holiday shopping done, while keeping some extra cash on hand for the New Year.

If you have any suggestions for a favorite place to find cheap gifts, let us know in the comment section below this article at


Charlotte Flea Market

A trip near the lake may seem more appropriate for summer, but don't be deceived. The Charlotte Flea Market houses more than 50 vendors who sell everything from chachkies to clothes, furniture to framed artwork. "It's basically a never-ending garage sale," says Sue, a vendor who's been hocking her stuff for about a year and a half. "The atmosphere is so laid back. People will wander for hours."

The Charlotte Flea Market is located at 4419-4421 Lake Avenue, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (although some vendors have varying hours). 429-0675.


Greenovation (as its name might suggest) is on a mission to help support the three R's – recycle, reduce & reuse. The environmentally conscious non-profit is active in the Rochester community, helping support local initiatives to educate everyone to be better to the planet. They also happen to sell some really cool stuff.

The shops at 1199 East Main Street (not far from the Rochester Public Market) are every DIY-er's dream. Endless rows showcase furniture, books, old record players, home décor, bicycles, and knick-knacks (perfect for that White Elephant party you're going to). You may have to do a little polishing or add some finishing touches to your buys before wrapping it up (Pinterest can certainly help), but then you have bragging rights when your friends or family unwrap it.

Upstairs, you'll find a space called Utter Clutter. Its owner, Sarah, is a self-described pack rat, who prefers to trade rather than take money — a bonus for holiday shoppers looking to get a head start on spring cleaning. That space is open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Greenovation is located at 1199 East Main Street, and is open Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 288-7564;

Hodge Podge Lodge

If your shopping trip takes you up to Greece, or you want to skip the crowds at the mall, check out Hodge Podge Lodge. You might be a tad overwhelmed at first by the rows upon rows upon rows of costumes, clothes, sports jerseys, antiques, DVDs, jewelry, musical instruments, fine china, furniture artwork, and more, but after a few minutes of browsing, you'll adjust. This corporate resale store often has things — for pretty reasonable prices — that you'd pay an arm and a leg for at the big boxes.

Got a sports fan on your shopping list? They've got you covered, from jerseys to bobble heads and bottle openers emblazoned with your favorite team's logos. Looking for a nice piece of jewelry for your mom or grandma? Find them something they'd never be able to get at the mall.

Hodge Podge Lodge is located at 571 Stone Road, Greece, and is open daily, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. 621-5111;


The Shops on West Ridge

This one's a little less "flea market" and a little more commercial, but the indoor shopping space does include more than 200 vendors, many of whom sell their own art, woodwork, jewelry, and other artisan products. You can find unique and educational toys at Tonya's Treasures; grab some antique Rochester pins, coins, and stamps at C Street; and geek out a bit at Grumpy's Antiques with old school Pokemon memorabilia, or at Full Count Cards with awesome 1980's action figures. You can even top it off with a Christmas tree ornament from Angelgate & Wood for way less than you'd spend at Hallmark, and pick up some cookbooks or hand-painted wooden signs for the home at the Purple Painted Lady.

The Shops on West Ridge are located at 3200 West Ridge Road, and are open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The shops make a point of being closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day (those are times for family, not shopping, they say). 368-0670;


Look for these date-specific holiday bazaars for more shopping opportunities

RMSC's 46th Annual Holiday Bazaar. Friday, November 18, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, November 19, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, November 20, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: $5 for adults or two-day pass for $7; free for kids 12 and under. RMSC members half-price admission (Friday only). 657 East Avenue. 271-4320;

Rochester Brainery Bazaar. Second Saturday of each month. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission. First 25 guests get a free Rochester Brainery tote bag with sample items from vendors. Food trucks and coffee also on hand. 176 Anderson Avenue. 730-7034;

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