Wiscasset’s Louis Cataldo asked the planning board May 22 if he could have a small flea market outside his Wicked Good Treasures business, over the Wiscasset line from Montsweag Flea Market in Woolwich. According to Woolwich officials, Cataldo and searches on Facebook and elsewhere online, the nearly half century old Montsweag Flea Market off Route One has not opened for the season and it is not known when or if it will reopen or who would reopen it.
Its phone number listed on the flea market’s tall sign on Route One was not in service as of Wiscasset Newspaper’s tries last week and May 30; the newspaper found no one at the market, where that sign has been saying closed. And a real estate agent Woolwich Selectmen’s Chair David King Sr. heard from about the property’s possibly going to be listed did not immediately return messages.
Cataldo’s application to Wiscasset for a flea market stated, “Montsweag Flea Market is closed this summer and may never open again.” Some of his summer business stemmed from it, about 6%, he roughly estimated in a phone interview May 24. And he told the board May 22, Montsweag Flea Market customers also stopped at other local businesses like the gas stations and restaurants, “which is a good thing, I believe.”
When he heard from vendors that the longtime flea market would be closed, he was disappointed and decided to propose one between his business at 770 Bath Road and the property next door, the former Miss Wiscasset Diner, 762 Bath Road. Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission’s Emily Rabbe, who assists the planning board, said Cataldo anticipated up to 20 vendors.
Cataldo told the board, traffic created would be much less than Montsweag Flea Market’s. Board members said he would need to submit more information including a traffic impact analysis and more defined measurements. “We’re not trying to give you a hard time, but if anything became of this, a lawsuit, and this is what we approved (the proposal) on, we’d be liable,” member Allen Cohen explained.
More meetings would put the opening too far into the season for it to be worth what he would make and what it would cost to fulfill the board’s requests, Cataldo said in the meeting and phone interview. He was dropping the proposal.
He said May 24, “I started this journey about a month ago and there was no guarantee it was going to happen even then ... I just decided to cut my losses (on the proposal). I’ve got lots to do anyway,” he added.