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Old Downtown Flea Market Clears The Way For New Paisano Mercado

Hello downtown mercado!

Vendors at a nearly 40-year-old flea market were evicted from a downtown parking lot located at Oregon and Paisano Streets this week, clearing the way for a new indoor mercado.

It’s all part of a plan to establish a mercado district in Downtown El Paso. But first, the Tiradero Flea Market, that had operated in that parking lot since the mid-1970s, had to go.

“A lot of people wanted to remain there, but it was time for a change,” said Luis Carranza, manager of the Tiradero Flea Market. “I’ve been selling there for 16 years now. My mom was actually one of the first people that started selling there.”

Vendors who work across the street at another flea market in downtown El Paso say that police showed up Wednesday afternoon and evicted all of the remaining vendors in the old Tiradero parking lot.

“They’re trying to make this place more of a tourist place,” Carranza said. “We understand this flea market looked bad outdoors.”

So Carranza moved things indoors, just down the street at 215 W. Paisano.

“We just try to adapt to the new change,” he said.

Mayor John Cook said it was time for a change.

“What’s really unfortunate is that in 37 years, there’s been no improvements to that parking lot,” Cook said.

Cook said he’s spent the past two years convincing the Rosenbaum family, which owned the parking lot where the Tiradero Flea Market was located, to build an indoor mercado.

“(Texas Department of Transportation) puts millions and millions of dollars into improving Paisano, resurfacing it, drainage improvements, and then you have these two, what I would call, ugly flea markets that are sitting there. Little tent cities.”

The Rosenbaums plan to break ground soon and it could be completed within the next six months.

“What downtown merchants need to do is try to find a way to get El Pasoans to shop Downtown,” Cook said. “Or tourists, who are coming in from out of town and want to experience shopping in Mexico, but are concerned about some of the safety issues.”

But what about the other flea market, that remains across the street on Paisano?

“We’re hoping that once this one is completed, the Kaplans (who own the parking lot) on the other side of the street decide they’re going to do something positive to change the image of downtown El Paso.”

ABC-7 spoke with vendors in the Kaplan’s lot across the street on Thursday. Some of them said, although they have yet to get eviction notices, they believe their flea market days in downtown El Paso are numbered too.

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