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Stretching your budget at swap meet markets

Assortment of items being sold at the Alpine Swap Meet market, Torrance
Assortment of items being sold at the Alpine Swap Meet market, Torrance

If you are financially hard up these days and you want to stretch out your budget when buying household goods, try visiting two of the most popular swap meet open markets in Torrance, California--the Roadium Open Air Market along Redondo Beach Blvd. and the Alpine Swap Meet Open Market at the corner of Vermont Ave. and Torrance Boulevard.

Here, you will stumble on cheap goods at the various swap meet stalls around these open air markets and it could be a rewarding pastime for someone who is good at bargain-hunting and haggling.

And despite the economic recession, swap meet operations have continued to attract a large number of customers. Reason? Prices of goods--mostly comprising of brand new , used and slightly used items--are between 25 to 75 percent cheaper than those being sold at the big shopping stores around the Los Angeles area. You name it and you'll find almost everything that you need at these swap meet markets.

Demographically, swap meets do not only attract low-income consumers but also ordinary workers and employees who wanted to save more for their hard-earned dollars. According to data, 33.3 percent of the consumers whose age bracket range between 25 to 34 years old frequent these places. Of this number, 58.8 percent are females as against only 41.2 percent for male customers. And more than 79 percent of these customers are employed, whose annual income range from $30,000 to $39,000.

Hispanics account for about 49.1 percent of the total customers that frequent these places. Whites come close to second with 26.1 percent; blacks, 16.4 percent; Asians, 6.6 percent; and 1.8 percent for others.

Operating for more than  60 years already, Roadium Open Market is a 15-acre facility that offers an opportunity for discriminating shoppers in and around the Los Angeles area to buy all types of new pieces of merchandise at bargain prices. Bargain hunters can also buy antiques, collectibles and pre-owned merchandise as well. This attracts a broad mix of shoppers from around the world.

Open 7 days a week, Roadium has about 500 sellers offering their merchandise to over 10,000 buying customers. "Our shopper count averages approximately 40,000 weekly or about 150,000 customers a month." Notably, some 2 million customers visited Roadium last year.

Mrs. Gertrude Belicano and her husband Jesus, made it a habit to visit one of the biggest swap meets along Torrance Blvd. to buy items for household use and they could send home through cargo forwarders."It is also a good exercise for us to relieve our boredom finding things whose prices are much lower than expected," she said.

However, the only problem that hounds most people when going to swap meet open markets is the traffic congestion which is becoming a big concern for car owners who want to use their parking areas. But this is being addressed by the swap meet managements. However, the parking area at the Alpine Swap Meet market is big enough to accommodate swarm of customers on a daily basis.