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
“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
“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,”
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.