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Imperial Shows Calexico No Longer Has Monopoly on Swap Meets

Calexico No Longer Has Monopoly on Swap Meets
The Lisa Tucker Center mini mall on Aten Boulevard in Imperial. | Photo courtesy of Tucker Center and Angie Nelson

IMPERIAL — News about swap meets in Calexico is frequent in local headlines. A little less known are those held in Imperial.

“We normally have a market about once a month where people bring items to sell like soaps, kettle corn. We try to plan events around Imperial’s Market Nights,” explained Jordan Tucker about the events at the Lisa Tucker Center he owns at 447 W. Aten Blvd.

The next swap meet will be Feb. 22 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. New, used and vintage items will be showcased and potential vendors can sign up with Angie Nelson at Made with Nana’s Love, one of several enterprises housed inside the Tucker Center.

“This time we will have a swap meet where people can sell used goods. They can sell anything they want. It’s the first time we have done this,” Tucker said.

“All the businesses stay open during the event, which is convenient because attendees can use restrooms inside the business. We are well lit for night events,”  Nelson explained. “Booths are in the parking lot. We just added 25 more parking spaces on the edge of our retention basin. We usually have food vendors at the events.”

Origin of Tucker Center

Tucker recalled how the Tucker Center, which contains several popular shops, came to be.

“My dad (Jerry Tucker) and I run the Lisa Tucker Center together. In 2016 we started putting this thing together. In 2017 we started the deli. We brought in different contractors to build the center and did a lot of the work ourselves,” Tucker said.

Jordan Tucker named the development in memory of his wife, who passed away in 2014.  

“Including the salon, we have 8 units, and thankfully they are all occupied at the moment,” Tucker said of the upscale mini mall.

Other tenants include Imperial Coffee Co., Brickhouse Deli, Bliss Gifts, Desert Freeze cryotherapy and Val’s Furniture.

The Tucker name has a long history in the area. Jordan’s brother, Jared, owns Tucker Auto Body and Storage at 463 W. Aten and their father, Jerry, owns Tucker Mini-Storage on the same parcel.

“Part of the reason we do all this is because my dad and I have a passion for distinctly Imperial and the whole Imperial Valley,” Jordan Tucker said of the importance of community in his business approach.

Swap Meet Idea

The idea for a swap meet grew out of a perception the area needs more leisure options, Tucker added.

“We don’t like the fact that there is not a lot to do here. I know a market doesn’t seem like a whole lot but at least it gives you an opportunity to go out and have fun,” he said.

However, he also noted getting word out about the Tucker Center’s regularly held markets has been the biggest challenge.

“We are really fortunate that we have a big parking lot with space for events and we always have adequate parking. When markets are busy, we have over 300-400 people in attendance,” Tucker said.

The markets are not about profit as the proceeds from vendor fees go back into the community.

“All the money goes to a charity we choose ahead of time,” Tucker added. “Last time, we sent the money to a family where a child came down with a rare disease and lost the ability to walk. We gave them a check for about $500.”

Nelson helps Tucker manage the markets and the charitable donations they create.

“It always goes to a charity or family that is in need. This month it’s going to a little boy with medical expenses and next month it’s going to a family that just had quadruplets,” Nelson added.

This story is featured in the Feb 06, 2020 e-Edition.

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