Search This Blog


Tuesday, July 19, 2016


By Sharon Wolff

Wolff's Flea Market is a leader in the swap meet industry for policies, research and education regarding counterfeit merchandise. Counterfeits are an ongoing worldwide concern, and wholesalers, flea markets, internet sources, small brick & mortar stores, mall kiosks, individuals, guys on the corner etc.) are vulnerable and liable for selling fake merchandise. 

We monitor hundreds of brands in all categories along many parameters. We have spent years developing our Merchandise Patrol program and employ a fantastic team of patrollers. It is not an exact science, and we rely upon ongoing research and news stories to assist us in our quest. While we want our vendors to make money and sell their products, we do not tolerate counterfeit products and aim to Prevent-Intervene-Educate

During our routine patrols around the flea market, we sometimes encounter banned or counterfeit merchandise. Our first goal is to EDUCATE our vendors in order to keep our customers, vendors and market safe from counterfeits. 

This pink slip is given to vendors as information and also as an expansion of our rules. It is updated as new information is revealed as a result of our ongoing research. 


STAFF: Please circle relevant merchandise, educate & record info. USED/NEW/COUNTERFEIT/BANNED ITEM NOTIFICATION 847-524-9590

Please check back frequently for updates. CALL 847-524-9590 or email sends e-mail) 


PARODY SHIRTSPlease note our "sports parody" merchandise policy. A variety of designs exist in kiosks, street stands and local stores that alter, mimic, copy and refer to licensed sports teams. We have suspended the sales of all sports parody merchandise at Wolff's Flea Markets because of the confusingly similar designs and trademark infringement issues. After careful consideration and research we had previously allowed limited styles of some types of items (t-shirts). But in a recent June 2015 Chicago area bust for counterfeit Blackhawks merchandise (not at our market), these parodied designs were seized and considered counterfeit. This has been confirmed by reliable sources and is an example of our ongoing research and how we work to enact our goals of Prevention, Intervention & Education (PIE). 
In June of 2016, another bust and resulting arrest occured for similar types of infringing merchandise. The items were again seized as counterfeit and reinforces our proactive decision to ban these items.


We wrote this: AN ARTICLE FOR SELLERS: BUY SAFELY, SELL SAFELY(link is external)

If you want to read even more, we wrote a lot of other stuff on WOLFF'S FLEA MARKET BLOG(link is external)

By selling at our markets you agree to follow our rules. Failure to cooperate may result in permanent ejection from Wolff’s. WFM follows local, state and federal laws to maintain a safe, family friendly environment. Please read vendor rules on seller's permit AND this entire section to familiarize yourself with our merchandise policies. 2016 VENDOR EJECTIONS: 2 

BANNED ITEMSAlcohol (even old products in collectible bottles; empty bottles allowed), tobacco (even old products in collectible containers), fireworks, ammunition, weapons and parts of weapons. (Specific Rosemont Ban: knives, pocket knives over 3", swords, real, decorative or collectible + ETC). No illegal knives, guns, air guns, pellet guns, pellets, (limited types of knives may be sold in Palatine to individuals over the age of 18), BB/air guns, paintball guns, crossbows, arrows, bows, ETC.). All toys guns new/used/collectible must have a permanently fastened orange tip which indicates that they are toys. No animal sales, ads for selling animals, confederate, racist/prejudicial literature or items. New and historical WW2 Nazi items are banned. No drug paraphernalia (including but not limited to wood/glass/small pipes, bongs, rolling paper), hookahs, pepper spray/mace, stun guns, tasers, used mattresses, X rated, pornographic material including but not limited to magazines and movies, items requiring prescriptions or controlled substances (e.g. pseudoephedrine), contact lenses (prescription AND/OR cosmetic), novelty lighters (Lighters that look like toys - banned in Illinois). Other items may be banned at our discretion. READ MORE ABOUT NOVELTY LIGHTERS HERE(link is external)

WHAT CAN I SELL? We welcome the amazing diversity offered by the thousands of vendors who have sold at our markets since 1991. Antiques, art, collectibles, books, comics, new merchandise, your stuff, picked stuff, garage sale items, stamps, coins, baseball cards, kitchen items, crafts, record albums, lawnmowers, furniture, clothing, home & garden decor, your business overstock, store returns, plants, books, sundries, soaps, sporting goods, knick-knacks, office supplies, jewelry, vinyl, accessories, generic/non designer purses, linens, tools, video games, CDs, DVDs, electronics, crafts, and MUCH, MUCH MORE! 

COLLECTORS: If you are looking for a particular item, we just might have it! Feel free to post what you are looking for on our facebook page. We have matched up a few customers and vendors!

POSITIVE MERCHANDISE TRENDS: Vinyl, fresh produce, antiques, quincenara, jewelry, furniture, repurposed items, bamboo plants

SOCIAL MEDIA: Likewise, vendors are welcome and encouraged to post infomation and photos of their upcoming sales oncraigslist(link is external),  facebook (link is external)and twitter(link is external). It's FREE and an excellent way to spread the good word. We now have live feed on our website for facebook and twitter. For twitter use this tag: @wolffsflea & for facebook use the checkin option for our location. Also join and post on our new BUY SELL TRADE facebook group(link is external)

SMALL BUSINESS ENTREPRENEURS: Can enjoy a low rent, well-trafficked location to introduce their new product or service to the marketplace. We've seen a variety of inventions & creations: magic tricks, repurposed creations, recycled pallet decor, handmade soaps, candles, shoe inserts, local honet, recycled wool mittens, salsa, olive oil, cookies, roasted peppers, hot sauce, barbecue sauce, the Mycromat, handmade pottery, personalized books, origami, exercise DVDs, art, wood-carving, crafts, bottle trees, flower arrangements, hand-made jewelry. Authors, artists and musicians gain experience and attract followers by showing off their talents and wares at Wolff's Flea Market. Got an idea? Try it out at Wolff's! We're happy to encourage your endeavors! Several vendors have gone on to open their own retail stores after getting their start at Wolff's! 

  • ROSEMONT: Produce, pre-packaged, non-perishable items are allowed. This season we welcome FOOD TRUCKS AT THE FLEA. Due to contractual agreements and local health regulations, the sale of food/concessions for consumption at the market, including, but not limited to chilled/hot beverages, hot food, cooked food, perishable food, sandwiches, etc. must be pre-approved by Wolff's Flea Market management and Village of Rosemont in advance. Proof of insurance, health permit and contract required. Please call 847-524-9590 for information to see if you qualify. This year, we are excited to welcome food trucks to Allstate Arena market!
  • PALATINE.: Due to local health requirements, the sale of prepared food is not allowed. Produce, pre-packaged, non-perishable items are allowed. Please call 847-524-9590 for information on other types of food that may be allowed.

COUNTERFEIT: No counterfeit trademark, copyright, diluting (i.e. confusingly similar to actual logos) merchandise (NEW or USED).READ: TWO KINDS OF COUNTERFEIT(link is external). We do not tolerate counterfeits at Wolff's Flea Market and aim to educate vendors and staff on this never-ending global issue (PIE: Prevention-Intervention-Education). We conduct ongoing research and vigilantly patrol our aisles in the effort to maintain our markets as venues for small business entrepreneurs to offer great deals on great new and resale merchandise. We appreciate your cooperation and attention as we openly and firmly share our knowledge and rules. Vendors are responsible for choosing appropriate merchandise. We are not lawyers and our information is not to be taken as legal advice. 

CELL PHONE RESALE: Due to the ongoing introduction of new smart phones in the marketplace, it is realistic that a used phone could be offered for sale. Vendors should check the IMEI numbers of the phones BEFORE selling and communicate to customers that the phone is eligible for sale. There are many sites that offer this service. Please do your own research in order to provide the best service for your customers. is external)

BANNED BRANDS: Because we will not authenticate, certain "vulnerable" brands are NOT allowed to be sold at Wolff's (new/used/real/fake). Banned: Coach, Louis Vuitton, MAC Cosmetics, OtterBox cases, Lifeproof cases, Dr. Dre Monster Beats, Chanel Perfume, Gucci and other brands at our discretion. These brands are highly vulnerable to counterfeiting. Flea markets have also been sued by certain manufacturers for contributory liability for allowing fakes of their brand.

MERCHANDISE INSPECTION: In an effort that involves ongoing research & education, Wolff's Flea Market strictly regulates the type of merchandise being sold. If you sell with us, we reserve the right to inspect and photograph merchandise, deem it as inappropriate and disallow it. In certain instances, a manager may require legitimate receipts for your product. Throughout the day, trained staff walk the market looking for banned merchandise. Several rounds of patrol occur as new items may be unpacked. Please instruct "walk-in" family members or friends to wait at the admission booth for management to inspect merchandise before entry. You may experience staff conducting repeat inspections of your booth. No vendor is singled out(link is external), so please do not be offended. Certain CATEGORIES of new and/or name brand merchandise require routine inspection: Electronics/Phone Accessories, Purses, CDs/DVDs, Clothing, Perfume/Cosmetics, Jewelry/Sunglasses, Toys, Licensed Sports Apparel. While most vendors follow our rules, some are new and unaware of our strict counterfeit policies. READ MORE ABOUT PHONE ACCESSORIES HERE(link is external)

MERCHANDISE REMOVAL:  Vendors will be directed to immediately and permanently remove restricted items. This means putting it AWAY, out of sight and access to the public. Your information will be recorded and an informational warning slip issued. While we strongly believe in the importance of educating our vendors, a small percentage may choose not to follow guidelines. Vendors not adhering to rules or those who argue or do not follow directions from staff to immediately and permanently remove banned merchandise run the risk of ejection (2016 ejections for failure to cooperate: 2). We appreciate your cooperation and self-monitoring of your merchandise. If we are in doubt about your product, we may ask you to put it away until further information about that item has been presented, researched and processed. Management will have the final decision regarding an item in question.

ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES/VAPES: The sales of electronic cigarettes are allowed to CARDED individuals above the age of 18. Vendors are required to prominently post this information at their booths. Per new law 1/2015, all E-Cigarettes must be displayed in a closed case that is inaccessible to children and the public. All refills must be in child-proof containers. Read more HERE(link is external) andHERE(link is external) for information, photos and printable signs.

ANIMALS: Service animals are allowed. Per federal law, staff may ask individuals with dogs 2 specific questions regarding the status of their animal. READ MORE HERE(link is external). No pets allowed. No sales of animals/pets are allowed. The posting of ads for animal sales is not allowed. Flyers will be destroyed. Please keep your pets at home and do not leave them in your parked car. As the weather warms/cools, temperatures in your car can reach dangerous levels for your pet. Vendors, sorry, but you cannot have your pets on the premises, even if they are in your vehicle or crated.

BABY: Due to safety and recalls, we do not allow the sale of NEW or USED infant/child car & booster seats, cribs, crib mattresses, crib bumper pads, (illegal in Chicago, too), portable cribs, sleep positioning devices, bassinets, playpens, folding playpens, strollers, jogging strollers, highchairs, walkers, baby seats, bouncy seats, clip/strap on table booster seats, baby swings, baby formula, ETC.

HOVERBOARDS: Sales of self balancing scooters, also known as hoverboards are banned in many locations (airplanes, malls, public transportation, colleges, Walmart, Target, Amazon, Overstock) because of counterfeit lithium-ion battery fire hazards and fake Samsung, LG and UL markings. We are also not allowing this product. Seizures by Customs have been reported in Chicago, New York, Minnesota, Virginia, Houston, Florida, UK. Read more here.(link is external) At this time there is no acceptable brand of hoverboard. Read more: Consumer Product Safety Commission's stance(link is external) Read even more: Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) Research(link is external)

CANOPIES & WEIGHTS: Canopies/tents are allowed and are useful in shielding you and your merchandise from the elements. No stakes may be driven into the ground. The 2 front legs of your canopy must be firmly attached to at least a 40 pound weight EACH. Rear legs may be attached to your vehicle. You may not attach canopy straps to merchandise, tables, boxes, etc. Weights are available for rent. Please see an employee. At our discretion, we may ask that you temporarily or permanently take down canopy.   READ MORE ABOUT WEIGHTS HERE(link is external)

BROCHURES, SERVICES, OUT-OF BOOTH SALES: No sale of catalog items or intangible services that involve the exchange of money or collection of credit card information without the exchange of actual goods unless you have received pre-approval from Wolff's. We will require presentation of your service related business license or certification. No distribution or posting of advertising, cards or informational flyers on vehicles or in the parking lot/aisles. No distribution of flyers by individuals who are not paid vendors of Wolff's. No prejudicial, hateful or discriminatory flyers allowed. Distribution and sales must be contained within your paid selling space. No walking sales or hawking in aisles. No parking lot sales. Raffles and tarot card readings are not allowed. You may hand out business related brochures at your booth and collect emails or phone numbers from customers if they choose to share with you. 

NON-PROFIT GROUPS: If you are a registered non-for profit organization/charity 501(c)(3) and wish to set up a stand at the market for fundraising or awareness, please call us at 847-524-9590. Documentation is required, and your space may be free. All rules and restrictions apply. Examples of previous groups: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Rotary Club, VFW, AIDS Foundation, Breast Cancer Walk, LifeSource Blood Drive, Special Olympics, Little Mexico, Young Marines, pet rescue, community dance troupe, Relay for Life.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

MEET OUR STAFF: The People of Wolff's Flea Market

By Guest Blogger Candice Lee Conner
All Photos by Candice Lee Conner
Thank you Candice for introducing the friendly faces of Wolff's Flea Market!

It takes a lot to run a flea market with over 700 vendors almost every Sunday. Wolff's Flea Market has been running their market smoothly for 25 years, because of the folks behind the scenes. This past Sunday, I talked to Wolff's cashiers. 

Meet the Cashiers!

Mary Ellen, Supervisor
Makes sure vendors pay up
Saves the day when cashiers need a break
Been at Wolff's for 12 years

Darlene, Cashier Supervisor
16th year at Wolff's
When not at Wolff's she's working O'Hare Airport
Rollerskating, playing volleyball on Mondays with seniors
Working events at the Allstate Arena
And she was looking at a unicycle - to buy - whilst we were talking!
Joanie, Cashier
Daughter is getting married very soon
During the week, Joanie is a full time Substitute Teacher
Been at Wolff's for 6 years

Hilda, Cashier
Been at Wolff's for 16 years!
During the week, Hilda is making folks days and working at a local gas station

April, Cashier
Been at Wolff's for 4 years
I asked if she sees anything weird at Wolff's. She said all the time!
During the week, April teaches at Glenview Preschool. 

Rocio, Cashier, ParkerBeen at Wolff's for 6 yearsDuring the week Rocio is a supervisor for the City of Chicago

Sharon, Cahier, Parker
Been at Wolff's for 3 years
Sees a lot of parking craziness
During the week, Sharon is doing whatever she wants. She retired in March!

Karen, Cashier
Been at Wolff's for 5 years
During the week, Karen helps out her dad

Donna, Cashier
This is Donna's first year at Wolff's!
During the week she is either St. Alexius Hospital, nannying, or playing with her two cats. 

Guest Blogger: Creative Uses for Flea Market Finds

Today's guest blogger is Betsy Fons

Thank you for sharing your projects and ideas!

The first item I ever bought at a flea market was a 5 by 7 carved wooden box. I was 8 years old and we were on our way back home from visiting my grandmother. My dad took the family to a flea market and gave $10.00 to each of his 6 kids to spend. I loved that box and it held many of my childhood “treasures” for many years.

Now, working at a flea market, one of the things I like best is to see customers thrilled about the unique items they buy. I can completely understand their excitement at finding something they have special plans for in their home.

I have grown from buying carved wooden boxes to items I can repurpose in creative ways.  The pictures below are of a few of my finds. I bought an old gardeners tool box, painted it, and put it in my bathroom to hold toiletries. The other picture is of an old church music hymn board that I use to hold family pictures. It’s easy to find creative ways to repurpose flea market finds…if you’re just willing to think outside the box!

Toiletry Caddy
(PHOTO: Betsy Fons)

Hymn board turned photo display
(PHOTO: Betsy Fons)


Thursday, June 9, 2016

MEET OUR VENDORS! The People of Wolff's Flea Market

By Guest Blogger Candice Lee Conner

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, you can find anything at Wolff's Flea Market. From Love - which we talked about earlier - to antiques. 

And yes folks, even your fresh produce. An epic place to get those strawberries, mangos, and veggies is Dave's Farm Stand. If you've been to Wolff's Flea Market in the past 17 years - you've seen their rather large stand in front of the Allstate Arena. I interviewed Ruben, Dave's son last Sunday while he was tending to his many hungry patrons. 

"I grew up in this place!" said Ruben. He's been working at the market since he was a kid, when his dad ran the stand. Dave and his family joined Wolff's Flea Market 17 years and Wolff's is happy they stayed with them!

The customers love Dave' Farm Stand too. As I was interviewing Ruben, a customer named Lisa yelled out that his "stuff tastes good and that everyone should buy here all the time." 

Ruben sells all kinds of fruits and veggies and products vary depending on the time of year. His key to being successful is to make sure to stay in season. This means buying fresh and local and never buying frozen. 

Said Ruben, "If it's not something I'll put on my table, I don't bring it."

So, there you have it folks. One epic food stand run by an epic person. Dave's Farm Stand is located in the front of the Allstate Arena every Sunday at Rosemont and every Saturday and Sunday at Palatine. 

"If it's not something I'll put on my table, I don't bring it"
Fresh mangos, red peppers and cucumbers
(PHOTO: Candice Lee Conner)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

FOOD REVIEW: Mario's Cart Vegetarian Options at Wolff's Flea Market Rosemont Allstate Arena

This week's guest blogger and food taster is Info Team Member Melissa Kliesch!

Being a non meat eater at a fair, festival, or market which covers the burger and dog circuit; it's sometimes difficult to find an alternative that's a little more than the pizza or fries you usually see. 

I'm not dissing the pizza or fries one bit, but sometimes when it's hard to convince yourself that the sauce on the pizza or the deep fried goodness of a potato really is a vegetable, you have to look a little further.

So this is where Mario's Cart and their Chico Wrap comes to the forefront. This flour tortilla is filled with fresh spinach, mozzarella, tomato and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Swap the chicken for the avocado pico de gallo and it's a veggie delight.

"Oh where did you get that?" I hear as I open my veggie wrap from Mario's Cart.

"That looks good!" and it totally does.

I open it up: The cheese is melty, the spinach is a plenty and it is really fresh and green. You also get good color from the tomato and the avocado in the pico de gallo.

What looks good, tastes even better. You get the softness of the flour tortilla, a nice crunch from the spinach, the creaminess from the cheese and the tartness from the balsamic vinegar. All complimented by the small kick from the pico de gallo. It's a good little wrap. For $8 and how fresh everything was, I think you totally get your money's worth.

Also as a side note, the staff at Mario's Cart was super accommodating. At some places if you ask for a substitution of no meat, there's a bit of confusion. But here as soon as a started explaining what I wanted, I got a reply, "Oh you want the veggie wrap." 

Yeah, so clearly it's already a thing and I'm late to the party.

So if you want a healthier option the next time you're at Wolff's Flea Market, head over and order the Chico Wrap, with or without chicken--you might see me ordering the same thing.

The Veggie Wrap from Mario's cart: Fresh, Green & Delicious!
(PHOTO: Melissa Kliesch)
The Chico Wrap, for those who like chicken!
(PHOTO: Sharon Wolff)

See you at the flea!

Mario's Cart