The defunct Big Two Toyota dealership at Broadway and Alma School roads in Mesa is quickly being transformed into an indoor-outdoor auction house and flea market.
Wesleys Show & Sell Auction House & Flea Market is set to open Friday . It will be an expansive venue for people to buy and sell just about anything and everything, with parking for at least 600 vehicles.
The flea market will be open every Friday through Sunday, while the auction house will be open on Saturdays. The facility will be open seven days a week for auction item deliveries.
Wesley Hukriede, a retired general contractor, owns the business and leased the property from Big Two, which relocated the dealership to Chandler.
“I always wanted to do an auction house and flea market, and combine them,” he said. “It’s giving an opportunity to the buyers to buy something ... for a lot less than if they had to go buy it new. It’s just a concept I think is really going to work right now during the tough times of the economy.”
The flea market will include 400 vendor booths. The auction house will be indoor, with sprawling space for storing items to be auctioned off. The 12-acre site is surrounded by a 10-foot wall.
The flea market will include both businesses and individuals, Hukriede said. All items will be eligible for auction except clothing and toys, he said.
“This gives them an opportunity to bring their stuff here, and for $25 they can set up a booth and sell it, and anything that doesn’t sell they could put it on the next week’s auction,” he said. “We’ve been flooded with calls from vendors and we’re still looking for a lot of vendors.”
Hukriede said he’s already hired about 30 people and will need another 70 to run the business.
“We are hiring everything from warehouse work to security, bookkeepers, accountants, maintenance people all the way down to people who are going to be selling water,” he said.
The property had been heavily vandalized and required a lot of repair work, said David Waller, general manager of auction house and flea market.
“Because of the fact that we have 12 acres, the potential for growth is wonderful,” he said. “It is a beautiful facility with fully-operational network computer systems. Hopefully, the community responds.”
Hukriede said he’s establishing a charity and 5 percent of auction sales will be donated to returning military men and women.
The business also hopes to provide employment opportunities for veterans who have had trouble integrating back into society after doing their service, Waller said.
Mesa City Councilman Dennis Kavanaugh said the business will need a use permit, which requires City Council approval, to operate long-term. In the interim, Hukriede can apply for a special event license to open Friday. The site is located in his district.
Because only four special event licenses are allowed for a single location, Hukriede will need to ask the city’s zoning hearing officer for a special use permit to increase the number of weekends he can use that special event license until a council use permit is granted, Kavanaugh said.
“What he’s proposing is probably a decent, temporary use of a car site. And it provides an opportunity for the city to get retail sales taxes from it,” he said. “That would help us and provide space for a lot of small entrepreneurs to sell their goods and wares.”
The council is now on summer break and Hukriede’s council use permit application probably wouldn’t be considered until either September or October, Kavanaugh said.
“It may help his case a bit ... to see how the business is being run in terms of how he’s handling security, how the traffic is working and what the impact is on the neighborhoods. So by the time it comes to the council for the use permit, hopefully it would be an easy process to go through,” he said.
Hukriede said he’s doing everything the city requires to open his business.
“Everything is being worked out,” he said.