Don’t be surprised if you see your neighbors, or yourself, on TV.
Starting this weekend, the parking lot will be converted into a flea market for a new reality show.
A production crew will begin filming the pilot for Flea Market Wars this Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The flea market — and filming — will continue every Sunday through the end of the year, according to executive producer Mike Gouvea. Because filming will occur once a week, it will take a month to complete a single episode, he said.
Gouvea, who’s producing both the show and organizing the market, said the pilot is being filmed for a television network but could not reveal all of the details because the show is still in pre-production.
But more than just a reality show, Gouvea hopes Flea Market Wars will be a community event.
Gouvea, a Los Angeles-based producer who sought the Union City location himself, is renting the space from the New Haven Unified School District. Though the show is not affiliated with the district, he plans to donate proceeds to New Haven to help the struggling local schools as they face nearly $11 million in budget cuts.
“This is just incredible,” Gouvea said. “Not only does it help the school district, it brings the community together.”
The show’s concept is similar to the hit A&E reality program Storage Wars but with a twist, he said.
Each weekend, a celebrity guest will attend the flea market and pick an item from five different vendors. The catch is the guest isn’t allowed to spend more than $20 on an item. Those purchases will then be appraised for their value at the end of each episode.
At the end of the season, the celebrity guest who made the most profit from their purchases will receive $50,000 to be given to a charity and the top five vendors who sold the items of greatest value will receive $50,000 to split amongst them, Gouvea said.
He’s hoping the community will get involved in the process and is encouraging residents to vend and shop at the weekly flea markets.
“It’s open to the public, but we would like Union City to back us up and make this successful,” Gouvea said. “We’re looking for the little guy and trying to help and build the community.”
According to Gouvea, more than 100 vendors have already registered and spaces are filling up fast. Vending spaces are approximately 33-feet by 22-feet, or the size of three parking spaces, and cost $30 per vendor.
Among those vending at Flea Market Wars is , a local independent store that specializes in rare and vintage collectibles.
Gouvea said he chose to film in Union City because it’s a prime location.
“The parking lot is big and located on a main boulevard. It’s just the perfect choice location. It’s in the middle of thousands of houses,” he said.
He said he initially scouted other Bay Area locations like Oakland but said flea markets in larger cities were too congested and filled with commercial businesses trying to peddle their products.
“We’re not looking for the phone sellers. We’re looking for the regular people,” he said. “We want people to come out and sell things from their garage.”
Those interested in vending at the event can email firstname.lastname@example.org. No alcohol, firearms or tobacco is allowed.
For more information, stay tuned to the show’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fleamarketwars.