Greenback Flea & Farmer's Market

Marine veteran fights back as businessman opening Greenback Flea & Farmer's Market to boost economy

By Robert Norris of The Daily Times Staff
There's a Marine veteran in Greenback who's not going to take it anymore not without a fight.

Tim Adams is battling back as an entrepreneur. On Friday and Saturday he will be expanding to open the Greenback Flea Farmer's Market at his established business, East Tennessee Electropolishing, 100 Tarwater Road, Greenback.

"It's a beautiful day. The leaves are starting to come back out," he said after stepping outside his shop to show where vendor booths will be set up, vehicles will be parked and four-by-four UTVs will be giving off-road demonstration rides.

"It's time to fight back. There's too much bad news. We've got to shake this thing," Adams said.

He was talking about the tough economy, and he's felt it firsthand. His company provides aluminum-finishing services for the boating industry, and that business is leaking.

"I graduated Everett (High School) in 1976, left home, got back about four year ago, and bought a fab (fabrication) shop. That didn't make it, so I started this electropolishing business, and it was going great," Adams said.

Key word: was.

"Back about a year ago, I had so much work I couldn't get it all done. Usually our busy season is in the winter months, and it just didn't come, so we went from feast to famine. Since October, it's been a bad decline."

Even with plenty of people squeezed for money, Adams figured there had to be opportunity.

"You've got two types of people. People who want to make money, and people who want to save money in this economy. It's a perfect time, I believe, for flea markets. The next two or three years, I think, they're going to be going well."

Adams has about 10 acres and 7,000 square feet of covered commercial storage space not being used at his current business. He listened to friends and neighbors talking about the need to sell their new and used goods to free up assets and cash.

So he decided to start the Greenback Flea Farmer's Market to help keep his business going and also "help those in Loudon, Blount and Monroe counties to turn their used goods and merchandise into cash."

In the process, he is offering free space at the new market to charitable groups and nonprofits in the community.

"With the economy the way it is, I really want to put emphasis on that part of it -- folks that are out there looking to have a spot. We aren't charging them anything. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Young Life, any organization like that, that wants to come out here and set up a booth."

To add fun for kids, there will be face-painting and helium balloons, plus food and drinks. Seven Day Believer, a gospel group from Maryville, will perform starting at noon Saturday. Customers are asked to bring lawn chairs to enjoy the outdoor concert.

"We're trying to give something back to the community. We want it to be a good experience."

K-9 and fire truck

If not called to duty, a Blount County Sheriff's Office K-9 team will be on hand around 2:30 p.m. Saturday, according to Adams.

Greenback Fire Chief Ronnie Lett confirmed the department will have a truck and a couple of firefighters at the market for the kids to see and talk to -- again, provided they don't have to answer a call.

Brad Lett -- general manager of Extreme Powersports Kawasaki, located at 2323 U.S. 411 North, Madisonville -- said a couple of four-by-four utility vehicles will be on hand to give demonstrations on an off-road trail at the site.

Demonstrator models will include a 750 Teryx, that is a side-by-side sport UTV, along with a 400 Mule and a 620 Mule, two workhorse UTVs.

People will be able to ride with demonstrator drivers on the mile-long trail that Adams described as "rugged terrain."

"It's going to be fun for the folks thinking they might want to buy one of those to get out and jump on one and see what it'll do," Adams said.

Japanese maples

As for the farmer's market, it's too early for local produce, but there will be a tree man at the market and good buys on Japanese maples and shrubs.

Adams expects Friday to set the stage for the second day of the market.

"The trick to a flea market, if you think about it, is you've got to have as many sellers as you have buyers," he said. "Friday, we'll be warmed up. Saturday, I hope we get just a really big crowd."

The Marine veteran figures he's going to do what he can to survive a business downturn.

"You think about it. Since this country was founded, our military has been fighting for freedom and free enterprise as our way of life. I'm in the boating industry. I electropolish aluminum parts, and it's down at least 80 percent," Adams said.

"With that, I can either quit, give up or die or roll over -- or I can fight back. I'm able to do that because I live in this country. Our troops are over there fighting for that. So if I quit, if I give up, what have they got left to fight for?"