Sept. 21 – PORT CARBON – Things got so bad in Long Island during the pandemic that Todd L. Jean decided to look for greener pastures.
Online, he found a small town in what he assumed was rural Pennsylvania where residents spoke of seeing deer, rabbits, and even the occasional bear in their neighborhood.
“That would be the right place,” he said to himself.
About 15 months ago, the 54-year-old ex-cement worker pulled in stakes and made his way to Port Carbon.
He bought a house on Commerce Street by the Reading & Northern Railroad siding leading to the back of the Yuengling Brewery in Mill Creek.
There, Jean forges a new life as the owner of a running flea market.
Visitors entering Jeans Garage are lured by a large sign near the railroad crossing on Pottsville and Commerce Streets and experience a sort of time warp.
Shelves crammed with DVDs and crates of Matchbox cars compete for space with iconic images of Dick Tracy and Dirty Harry.
A large Superman toy doll, once a child’s companion, patiently awaits a new playmate.
A framed family portrait of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and their children John (John-John) and Caroline goes almost unnoticed on a bookshelf.
On a nearby wall is a copy of the January 26, 1976 scandal paper, the National Examiner, with a photo of Jacqueline Kennedy and the headline, “How Bizarre Plot to Kill Jackie Failed.” Below that is another headline: “Aliens from Outer Space Abduct Humans”.
Jean held up a large plastic replica of an Army Humvee and explained how the TOW anti-tank missile system works.
During the Gulf War in the early 1990s, Jean said he was a gunner on a Humvee equipped with the TOW missile system. During his military service from 1989 to 1992, he served in Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
Jean brought some items back from Long Island, but he bought most of his inventory at flea markets, flea markets, and auctions.
He’s expanded the range to include more practical items like 50-pound bags of pea charcoal, straw bales ideal for Halloween displays, and potted peppers and tomato plants growing in his garden.
On a good day, Jean says he might have 100 customers. Traffic is light most days, but he’s hoping to gain a foothold among the bargain hunters.
To visit, follow the Garage Sale sign at the Commerce and Pottsville Street level crossing. Opening hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
Contact the author: [email protected]; 570-628-6007