MACON, Ga. — This report has been contributed by Samantha Homcy, a student from Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.
Smiley’s Flea Market is now known as Georgia’s Largest and Finest Flea Market, but how did it get its start?
Smiley’s was started in 1984 by Benjamin Campen Sr., and since then, his children, Ben Jr. and Ashley, have taken charge of the company.
Benjamin Campen Jr. is the current president and owner of Smiley’s, and he has gotten to watch the company grow over the years.
“We started with two buildings here on the property, on 30 acres,” said Campen. “Currently, we’re on 60 acres, we have over 14 buildings on the property and over 1,200 selling spaces for the vendors.”
Smiley’s started out with one location, but the company now operates in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.
Campen says that the importance of family business at Smiley’s extends past his own family.
“We love the family business model, and that’s what Smiley’s is all about,” he said. “Everybody out here, they’re small business, they’re family operators.”
Campen, who has been full-time with Smiley’s since the late 1990s, looks forward to further serving the Central Georgia community with Smiley’s.
“We’re so glad to still be a part of this community here in Middle Georgia, since 1985,” he said.
Smiley’s hosts frequent events, often one event a month. The events taking place in the next few months include an upcoming Halloween event, a Thanksgiving food drive in November and a toy drive in December for the holidays.
The food and toy drives will benefit local charities.