The idea to open the Wright County Swappers Meet came about from a conversation Stanley Miller had with his brother-in-law Marvin, who had visited several Swap Meets in California. Although such a market would only be feasible during the warmer months, the idea appealed to Stanley and his wife Gladys.
The couple’s dream became reality when they moved to the Miller family homestead in South Haven, Minnesota. With 50+ acres to spread out on, the Wright County Swappers Meet opened their gates for the first time on Saturday, April 4th, 1970. Gladys recalls they had about 5 vendors and a dozen curious shoppers. And from there, things just took off!
During the winter of 1971, Stanley built a replica train locomotive on the chassis of a 1955 Chevy Step Van. The idea was for Stanley to drive his "Steemer" in local parades to promote the Swap Meet. Bearing several different horns & whistles and puffing black smoke, the train replica quickly become a children's favorite. It is still used today in local parades.
With help from their 5 children and the support of close friends and extended family, Stanley and Gladys turned their dream into a thriving family business. Stanley took care of overall operations & Gladys ran the onsite restaurant. When Stanley passed away in 1982, Gladys went from flipping burgers to having full responsibility for the business. Gladys continued to build on their dream year after year with hard work and perseverance.
In 2012, Gladys handed over the reins to her son Kevin and his wife Laurie. Their 3 daughters are now also part of the WCSM team! The heart of the businesses success is family and the sense of community it fosters. The Wright County Swappers Meet has evolved into an outdoor farmers market, art fair, antique mall, closeout store, sporting equipment outlet and garage sale with great food & fun entertainment.
Walking the grounds to shop for bargains, enjoy a delicious treat and visit with friends & neighbors has become a summer tradition for folks from all over the state of Minnesota. WCCO viewers voted the Wright County Swappers Meet as Minnesota’s Best Flea Market in 2014. Stop on by and visit us next time you’re in the area!