Just like the building it occupies, Finders Keepers Marketplace takes something unused and gives it new life.
The store, just south of the railroad tracks on Veterans Avenue in Biloxi, has been vacant since it was built before Hurricane Katrina. It’s now full of treasures and collectibles and is ready for its grand opening Saturday.
Owners Chris and Carmen Hinton plan a day of activities including food and drinks, music and a car and motorcycle show.
The store is open daily, and on weekends the grassy area south of the building becomes an outdoor flea market, where a 12-foot square spot is $10 a day. As part of the weekend activities, a guy cooks catfish plates on Saturday, Chris said, and last Sunday he made barbecue ribs and chicken.
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Inside “everything’s full,” Chris Hinton said, and they have a waiting list of people who want to set up booths.
“A lot of people don’t realize Finders Keepers takes up the whole building until they get inside and see it’s wide open,” he said. All 12,000 square feet are filled with 70 vendors selling vintage toys, jewelry, lamps and other housewares.
“We’ve had so many customers come in and say it’s like walking down memory lane,” he said. Power Rangers and Hello, Kitty take shoppers back as do the dishes their grandmother used, the rotary phone and the old Singer sewing machine. Adding to the nostalgia are treasures from the past, such as a slot machine, carousel horse and toys from the 1960s, displayed on the ledge behind the cash register.
As they browsed through the old cookbooks and the sweet Amish jams, a couple from Houston said the prices at the Biloxi store and two or three times less than they see in Texas.
Carmen Hinton said they get a lot of tourists looking for something unique and small enough to travel home with them and people from other states who pass the shop en route to an appointment at the VA Center. Women tell her they don’t mind coming with their husbands now that there’s a fun place to shop.
Locals find furniture, lamps and art along with new cleaning supplies and other “dollar store” products for the home.
“It’s taken off really well,” Carmen Hinton says of the store. The selection changes constantly and she said shoppers who didn’t buy when they first admired something in the store have returned to find their treasure gone at Finders Keepers.