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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wolff's Flea Market 25th Anniversary 2016 #wolff25

We are collecting memories and photographs that people have taken at Wolff's Flea Market over the years.
Please share your special memories! We will then compile it all into a video, powerpoint and printed format.

Email us at with the subject #wolff25
Attach photos if you have them and if you want them to go public.

Or, print this page and mail or bring it to
Wolff's Flea Market
1775 N. Rand Rd.
Palatine, IL 60074

I met my true love at Wolff's Flea Market
My child learned how to count to 7 at Wolff's Flea Market
I bought my first pair of socks at Wolff's Flea Market








Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Treasure Hunting at Wolff's Flea Market 

A good flea market is a wondrous thing. It serves as a great place to find all kinds of goods, but also as an entertaining community meeting place. Flea market shopping isn't just about saving money, it's about having fun, discovering strange new things, and making a point to recycle rather than buy more new stuff from the same old big-box store. And Wolff's Flea Market in Rosemont and Palatine, IL is one of the best.
Wolff's opened its "doors" in its outdoor Rosemont location in 1991. At the time, brothers David and Donald Wolff were making some spending money selling souvenirs at Allstate Arena. "One day, after a stadium event, the brothers looked at the parking lot and realized that it would be perfect for a flea market," explains David's wife Sharon, who manages media and merchandising for the business. "The brothers concentrated their efforts and with the help of their parents, Katherine and Lawrence Wolff and sister Eileen, they opened Wolff's Flea Market in May 1991."

courtesy of Wolff's Flea Market
Since then, Wolff's Flea Market has also opened an indoor market in Palatine. The Palatine Market location is large enough to house hundreds of vendors and is at a busy spot where many people live. Because it's inside, weather is no issue, so it is able to operate all year long.
And locals appreciate the market. "Our sellers fill a niche for local residents looking for cultural, quinceanera and other ethnic items," says Wolff. "We are very diverse, and with the large numbers of individual vendors, most any customer would be able to find something!"
And when Wolff says that most any customer should be able to find something, she means it. That's because Wolff's has nearly everything. "Art, antiques, new merchandise, home decor, vinyl, collectibles, comics, coins, clothing, storage locker clean-out, jewelry, furniture, resale, garage sale, liquidation, store returns, dollar items, produce, food, religious items, handmade soaps, plants, computer & jewelry repair services, cosmetics, toys, books, CDs, DVDs, phone accessories... the list goes on," says Wolff.

courtesy of Wolff's Flea Market
Many items come from store returns and overstock. "Many people don't realize the vast amount of potential waste and monetary loss when big-box and department stores accumulate returned merchandise or are stuck with unsold inventory," says Wolff. Stores rarely return these items to the shelves, and they are sold at auctions to the vendors who sell at Wolff's. "Often the items are in excellent new condition with only opened boxes," notes Wolff.
And for customers with a sense of fun, Wolff's hosts the Ugly Art Gallery, which features... well, you can probably guess. You might have a hard time bringing any of it home, though. "Donald rarely lets any of his Ugly Art collection go!" says Wolff.
This kind of community and spontaneity are part of what make flea markets so much fun. Vendors have great stories, and there's always some interesting thing to catch the eye. "Both of our flea markets offer a fun, family-friendly, casual atmosphere," says Wolff. Many times, vendors and customers end up striking up friendships. "There are even a couple of love stories!" Wolff says with a laugh.
Whatever you might be looking for, Wolff's Flea Market is pretty likely to have one, or five. And even if you're not looking for anything, you may find something anyway, says Wolff: "There is always something that would surprise even the most regular of customers."
Wolff's Palatine location is open every Saturday and Sunday from 8am-4pm, year round at 1775 N. Rand Road

Thursday, December 17, 2015


A few of our 2015 Holiday Crafts at
Wolff's Flea Market Palatine

MATERIALS: Reclaimed wood, Modge Podge, glitter, glue-ons, printable images, pipe cleaners
Made with love by Wolff's Craft Kids
Tree made by Impatient Pallets from recycled fencing and pallets. Decorated by Wolff's Crafty Kids.

MATERIALS: Foam, hole punch, star stickers, pipe cleaners
Made with love by Wolff's Crafty Kids

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Although it's December and we are in Chicago, we can still dream and plan for our future flea market garden. Check back as we continue to find awesome gardening ideas and links by the original creators!

    Spigot handles were thrift shop finds
  1. Choose a beautiful old barn wood board, give it a coat of Polyurethane …
  2. “We added some garden junk spigot handles that were thrift shop finds in my stash…I’m always lookin’!” Jeanne says
  3. Rusty barbed wire for the stems which is hammered on with fence post staples.
  4. Use screws for flower centers. Add a couple eyelet hooks on the back with wire, so they can stand alone or be hung up.

This adorable flea market fairy garden was made by Wolff's Crafty Kids at Wolff's Flea Market Palatine. About 12 vendor and customer children 11 years old and under added their own personal touches. They had so many ideas! I just put out miscellaneous found supplies and let them have at it. I spy. What do you see? On display HERE.


For 2 weeks I noticed 3 partially carved log bowls. I thinks they were rejects from a wood carver. A vendor won the at an auction and sold me this one for $5. I shoulda bought the others.
This easy project involved just a few steps:

  1. Drill a couple holes for drainage
  2. Line with gardening cloth
  3. Fill with compost or your favorite soil blend
  4. Since this was towards the end of the season, I just transplanted a few sedum clippings and annuals
  5. It is on display in front of a recycled pallet with has glass insulators containing LED lights.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


This old, tired "curbside" butcher block ended up at the flea market. A little TLC transformed it into this serving cart.
  1. First I removed the yucky loose and useless shelf 
  2. A good sanding removed most of the dark stain, but I left some to show through the final finish
  3. Bottom half of cart was painted with 2 coats of dilutes Barn Red paint. Dark blue, forest green and creamy beige were also blotted on and then wiped off to add a slight weathered look.
  4. Top and painted areas were covered in 2 coats of Varathane Golden Oak semi-gloss Stain & Poly (water based).
  5. Hardware: shut off valve knob (front left), bottle opener (front right), craft fair stone hook (side right), 4 caster wheels.
  6. Shelf: I added a sanded plank of recycled cedar fencing as a removable bottom shelf
  7. Accessories: Handmade wine caddy on top and wineglass box on bottom shelf are made from recycled fencing and pallets by me (Impatient Pallets)