Shopping

A First-Timer’s Guide to Canton’s First Monday Trade Days

Flea market pro Brittany Cobb shares her top tips for shopping the East Texas market.

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Brittany Cobb, Flea Style

Brittany Cobb, owner of lifestyle brand/flea market/e-commerce shop Flea Style, has been junking at the First Monday Trade Days in Canton for 10 years. “I have shopped markets all over the world, and at least half of my favorite pieces hail from Canton,” she says. Cobb shares with us her favorite spots to treasure hunt, where to cool off (hint: it involves ice cream), and what to bring.

Favorite Areas to Shop

I stay outside in the fields behind the Civic Center. I love the fields because that’s where the random, quirky, funky finds are. I’ve bought everything from Mexican painted pottery to faux fur jackets and a Hollywood Regency coffee table.

Areas to Avoid

I avoid The Arbors because most items are mass produced. I also covet many items inside the Civic Center, but prices are usually pretty steep compared to the fields.

Favorite Spot for a Snack

I love the brisket sandwich in the center field area and top if off with a diet A&W Root Beer.

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Pit stop! “I love the vintage trailer that serves fresh fruit ice cream. I usually have the peach.”

Where to Park

I always park at the Civic Center off Highway 64. It’s $5 and cash only.

Best Days and Times to Shop

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Cobb’s treasure includes a vintage batik antelope textile, African-inspired jewelry (“I about lost my marbles when I came across this woman from New Jersey on her way to Round Top with a massive African jewelry collection,” she says), vintage cowboy boots, a brass tray, and a vintage skull painted in an eagle design.

I prefer to go Thursday or Friday; I avoid weekends because it can get really crowded, but the later you go, the better the prices get. January can be really small; the shows right before Round Top get a lot of vendors gearing up for the that. Gloomy/drizzling days are best because most people don’t want to hit the fields and the vendors out there want to make sales. End of summer is hot as heck, but I’ve found some of my best deals those months.

What to Bring

I bring stacks of ones—vendors really appreciate it. I’m always in a hat because the fields have no protection. I stash some hand wipes in my cart to wipe my hands after digging all day. And a cart is mandatory.

Favorite Place to Dine

In Canton, Dairy Palace has the best bison burger. If I’m really hungry—often the case after shopping Canton all day—I will opt for one of their dozens of Blue Bell Ice Cream flavors.

Shopping With Kids

I love to bring my 5-year-old daughter with me. Each time, I give her five one-dollar bills that she can spend throughout the day. Our little ritual not only teaches her how to thoughtfully spend money, count change, and interact with adults, but it keeps her well-behaved because she’s excited and intrigued by the shopping experience and wants her money to last the entire day.

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