John and Patricia Rivera’s well-stocked tables laden with collectibles, southwestern and native art, jewelry, vintage items and tools are a familiar sight at the Anza swap meet, which is held Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Anza Community Hall.
“We love the Anza swap meet,” Patricia Rivera said. “The folks at the Community Hall are the salt of the earth. The regular vendors are like family. It is very much a part of the mountain community. The diversity of people who stop by is interesting. It is our place to socialize and a great place to network when someone is in need of help.”
The husband/wife duo joined the outdoor market scene about two years ago.
“I was the one who wanted to do the swap meet two years ago. This was right after the Cranston Fire. That event hit us hard financially when John hurt his back getting generators to the house and the well,” Rivera said.
Between fuel and losing a whole freezer full of meat, fish and other food, she said she decided to venture out of her comfort zone and bring in supplemental income to make up for the losses since their homeowners insurance covered nothing from the 10 days they were without power.
“Thank goodness the Anza Electric Cooperative managed to see that power was rotating during that period or things financially would have been much worse,” she said. “So the adventure began. I asked John to go, and at first, he was apprehensive. Once we got there, he loved it as well as myself. We have been doing it ever since. The income pays for gas and food plus getting more inventory to sell. I got a sellers permit and a fictitious business name that I am still in the process of finalizing. I also purchased a website to start selling the more collectible items I have had for many years. Once that is complete, we will be ready to spend more time being entrepreneurs with a small business once I retire, whenever that may be.”
At first, she offered mostly jewelry she acquired years ago while selling on eBay. The selling fees on that platform became an issue, she said, so Rivera stored that inventory for future reference.
“Other vendors advised us that we needed more stuff. John does the purchasing by going to yard sales and thrift shops. We found that tools sell well, and we just recently acquired inventory from another vendor and friend who found a really good job. I purchase new stock from wholesalers. I make jewelry and plan to sew things such as masks, jackets, handbags and such.”
On a typical Saturday, the pair’s tables glitters with interesting and unique items, and they provide conversation, advice and smiles all-around.
In keeping with the current safety protocols, the Riveras wear their face masks, and they provide hand sanitizer for their customers.
The Riveras are members of the Anza Community Hall.
For more information about the Anza Swap Meet, call 951-282-4267 or find the Anza Community Hall on Facebook.
Diane Sieker can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.