Sunday, January 30, 2011

Beyond Chips: Entertaining With Flea Market Finds Part One

Tired of preparing the same old chips and dips for your parties? Do you want to wow your guests with unique and creative recipes? Try these delicious snacks that were assembled with ingredients purchased at Wolff's Flea Market.

Food is displayed on a tiled cabinet/bench that was "upcycled" from a maple kitchen cabinet found at Wolff's Indoor Flea Market, Palatine.

What can you do with these thrifty purchases? Incorporating suggestions from our facebook followers, we share with you a menu sure to impress anyone! Read on and scroll down to see the final spread!

ANTI PASTA PLATTER: Roasted red peppers, salami, store-bought herbed cheese.
COMMENTS: Use white serving dishes (which are available at very cheap prices at Wolff's) to bring out the natural colors and textures of the food. Make mini sandwiches by placing roasted red pepper between a slice of salami & cheese.

VEGGIE MEATBALLS: Prepare batter according to directions on box, but form into small balls instead of burger patties. Cook as directed. Dip into Black Bean Salsa.
COMMENTS: Came out a little crumbly, but tasted pretty good. Next time, I will flatten the meatballs into mini burgers to ensure more even browning and top each one with a dollop of salsa.

PASTA SALAD: Cook noodles. Drain and rinse in cold water. Add balsamic dressing, roasted red peppers, and store-bought grated parmesan cheese. Mix and refrigerate. Stir just before serving.
COMMENTS: You can add just about anything to a pasta salad! Cubed meats, black beans, chopped, raw vegetables, tomatoes, hardboiled eggs, etc. Use your imagination!

ARTICHOKE DIP: Combine bottled artichoke dip, chopped mild green chilis, chopped roasted red peppers and store-bought herbed cheese in a sprayed glass dish. Cook at 400 degrees until bubbly and golden brown. Serve with crackers.
COMMENTS: This dip tastes good hot or cold. Prepare ahead of time, refrigerate and heat before serving, or just serve cold. Substitute herbed cheese with feta or parmesan. For easy finger foods, spread dip on quartered slices of bread or toasted rounds before serving or cooking.

TERRI'S POTATO CHIP COOKIES: The official cookie of Wolff's Flea Market. See previous blogpost for this delicious melt-in-your mouth recipe.
COMMENT: Easy preparation. I love no-fail recipes that turn out great the first time!


Hurry to Wolff's Flea Market to buy ingredients for a 
Super-Super Bowl Party!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Donald Wolff: A Perfect Storm-The Flea Market

Donald Wolff's Perspective

The first annual Small Business Saturday Event occurred the day after Black Friday in November 2010. Nationwide, awareness of small businesses was brought to the forefront and consumers were encouraged to shop at local, neighborhood shops. 

Here are three interesting facts about small businesses:  First, for every $100 spent at a small business, $68 returns to the local economy. Over the last decade, 60% to 80% of new jobs were generated by small businesses.  Third, small businesses employ half of all private sector employees.  Now take a step back and look a Flea Market.  It is the ultimate small business.  It is where anybody can start his or her own business – true entrepreneurship.  For centuries worldwide, flea markets and other forms of outdoor markets have been and continue to be commonplace and the main avenue of doing business. 

Wolff’s takes great pride in being able to offer an opportunity for anyone to start a business at a very affordable cost.  No need for a long-term lease and other overhead expenses including advertising, utilities, security, maintenance, and so on.  The traffic generated to a vendor's booth could not be replicated at any corner strip mall.  We bring 1000’s of shoppers “to your store”. 

While we play a part, the rest is up to you. Why are vendors successful?  The reasons are varied of course, but over the years I have seen a few possible reasons for success.  Thriving vendors take their role as a small businessperson seriously.  They are courteous and pleasant to their potential shoppers and offer one-on-one help—a welcome advantage over big box stores. They have possibly found a “niche” and offer fresh, varied, unique, desirable and competitively priced merchandise for sale that also allows for some “haggle room”.  Shoppers of course like and sometimes expect to bargain.  Vendors are prepared to sell, which includes having change, bags, etc.  They also offer solutions and stand behind their merchandise when someone returns with a concern over a previously purchased item.

Flea Market business is up across the country for many reasons.   Of course the economy has an influence.  In tough economic times, some people need to make extra money (vendors) and many others simply need to save money (shoppers).  What a perfect storm – A Flea Market. 

Wolff’s is a member of the NFMA (National Flea Market Association) and is in constant communication with other markets throughout the U.S.