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January 27th, 2006

Ode to the Pennsauken Mart

I remember the first time my dad took me to the Pennsauken Mart, an indoor “mall” that was much more like a flea market than a mall. The floors were concrete, the place in general felt dirty, and the shops sold everything from electronics to knock-off clothing. I loved it.

In high school, there were months where I’d go there every weekend. At that time, there were three great sources in the Mart for records, including an award-winning store. I found most of my gems tucked away in the back of an electronics store, though, in crates and completely unsorted. Fortunately, a lot of DJs would end up unloading their stash of promos there, so I’d walk out with a handful of records for $1 that would be worth $30 or $40 ten years later.

There was also a movie store there that supplied me with all the hard-to-find cult films that I was looking for. My giant-box Wizard Video edition of Zombie came from there (with the puke green screengrabs on the back) as did Anguish, which I waited months and months for. Then there was the Filipino food stand with the sign that declared, “Not all Asians are Chinese!” and mispelled Phillipino/Filipino as Piliphino. Their fried rice was wicked good.

In recent years, the Mart had lost a lot of its flavor for me. Most food choices were out once I stopped eating meat and all of the good record sources disappeared. But I still enjoyed walking through once or twice a year and browsing through the movie store, now in a bigger location.

Unfortunately, the time has finally come. They fought it off for a while, but the Mart is closing just short of 50 years after it opened. Well, technically, they’re moving, but ask anyone that’s frequented the Mart: for all intents and purposes, they’re closing.

I’ll miss ya, Pennsauken Mart.

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: Dave [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday January 27, 2006 -- 10:21:32 am
I used to go there all the time. There was this great store "MART TRADING POST" where when I started DJing and making music I would purchase all kinds of used DJ equipment, drum machines, keyboards, etc. THey also had a good car stereo department with some knowledgeable installers who help me get a good system in one of my old cars when I was in high school. THe trading post does have another store in the BERLIN FARMERS MARKET but its not the same. There also used to be a great place for buying DJ mixed tapes. I used to get all kinds of mixed tapes from DJing the NJ and philly area as well as trade them ones I made. There was also this great italian market although it moved down the street on rt 73 so I am happy its still there. One of the places I will miss is the seafood market.. it was not inside the mart but a little building outside. they had some of the best fresh seafood. last time I was there I asked them where they planned to move to but they didnt know.




FROM: jk
DATE: Sunday January 29, 2006 -- 1:40:34 pm
Channel 6 had a nice story on the market yesterday.

Question: did people move through the market at a snail's pace? There is a really great market less than 5 minutes from my house, and I call it the Land Of Slow-Moving People. I dart around people like a pinball! The Greek stand is my favorite.



FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday January 29, 2006 -- 9:27:41 pm
jk -- YES. To make a full circuit around the mart took a *long* time.



FROM: Mike Hatalovsky
DATE: Wednesday February 1, 2006 -- 1:05:44 am
Man-o-man, I thought the ol' Mart would live forever. I moved out of South Jersey in 1982, but the Mart has many memories, especially the time my grandparents ought me my first set of drums from the music store there in 1980.
They say it isn't sight or sound that really sticks in your memory, but ODOR, and the Mart did have an odor to it, somewhere between B.O. and a burnt pepperoni pizza. Unfortunately, that's my most vivid memory of "the Wonderful World of Marty".
What saddens me, tho, is it was truly a cultural icon for typical blue-collar slobs like us, who could haggle, trade, and swap for just about anything. I loved the awesome arcade me and my little sis would play in while our grandparents shopped, then we'd all grab a cheesesteak and/or a soft pretzel, then head home, sometimes taking in a movie at the adjacent Eric theatre.
And now Marty's gone so politicians could pander to Yuppies who care more about image over substance. True, I haven't been there for over 23 years, and I heard it has hit the skids some time ago, but it is my understanding that it was largely due to scared merchants trying to escape the falling axe. One blogger was so correct when she stated that Camden County should've spent some money trying to spruce it up and renovate it instead of plotting its demise.
I have lived in Tennessee since 1982, and we do indeed have a few wonderful indoor flea markets, but ther'll NEVER BE ANOTHER PENNSAUKEN MART!
G'Bye, Marty. Smell ya Later!



FROM: Lisa E.
DATE: Sunday February 26, 2006 -- 4:13:43 pm
OMG

Im living in the UK now but am originally from Philly - damn I cant believe the Mart is gone! Some of my most treasured posessions are the records by 1980's British 'New Wave' groups like Classix Nouveau still locked in my mother's garage that I got in Pennsauken. There were even Candadian groups like Platinum Blonde, Strange Advance and the Boogie Boys that I couldnt find ANYWHERE but the Mart. I am a music freak and a huge part of my vinyl stash at Mom's is from the Mart. Couldnt be beat for the price - and I was lucky to have friends from Jersey who could check things out and hook me up. I am realising that I have got stuff to be shipped here still that is totally out of print now.

Time to lower the flag over Buckingham Palace...



FROM: Fred Farkle
DATE: Friday March 10, 2006 -- 5:46:50 pm
Baltimore, Md. has a number of municipally owned markets. Their history goes way back. You got some money, business ability, and want to work for yourself? You go to the city and they will set you up. The best is Lexington Market. It is mostly food. You can get stuff to eat that you can't anywhere else. If you go to the western part and there is a stand where one can get a huge breakfast that is made in front of you for under two bucks. Saturdays has entertainment like jugglers for free. I have been to cities in other countries. When I was a kid my father was sent to Germany. I remember the smell of goat cheese in Frankfurt's market. In the early 70's I was in Belgrade and saw buckets of goat cheese. The best was Kathmandu in l973. The country is Hindu so no cows are slaughtered, Water buffalo is considered to be antelopes so one guy would butcher a water buffalo in the middle of the market. I was there when marijuana became illegal. Farmers sold what looked like an ear of corn but was really a large leaf wrapped around pot. Goat cheese stinks but I love the smell of it.



PROVY March 9, 2007, 9:38 pm

I’M AN OLD FAN OF THE PENNSAUKEN MART AND I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THE ADDRESS OF THE PENNSAUKEN MART NOW. PLEASE EMAIL THE KNEW ADDRESS. THANK YOU PROVY

Brian Schmidt November 10, 2007, 12:27 am

Though I have always liked the Berlin Mart a little better, I always made time once a month or so to visit the Pennsauken Mart. I loved the pizza from the guy down on the end or an elephant ear from the bakery. Always felt sorry for the puppies in the pet store, hope they all got good homes. The record stores had long since gone away but, the Trading Post always had a good deal on something. Then there were the soft pretzels freshly made that couldn’t be passed up. Too bad these weren’t the kind of people that made enough money for the Camden County Machine politicians. Perhaps a few good bribes would have helped save them.

Jackie March 12, 2008, 12:39 am

Since I discovered pensauken mart back in 1990 that was the spot for me. I also discovered the star dust ball room which I use to dance salsa every 1st sat. and last sat of the monthy. I’m really sad that place was closed down, but from what I hear it’s back in business and I would love to know where exactly it’s located. I miss my shopping days at the mart. So please be so kind and e-mail me the new address please so I can go shopping. LOL

MO April 9, 2008, 6:10 pm

Does anyone know where the shops moved to? I thought they moved somewhere else but I don’t konw where.

AZIMMM May 30, 2008, 4:22 pm

I truly loved that place my parents took me I took my kids and if they were still around i am sure they would take there kids to the infamous Pennsauken Mart. I heard they moved,please where are they located now? 6/30/08.

Karl August 25, 2008, 10:50 pm

They moved to Willingboro, it is still right off of route 130, just head north on it for an additional 20 minutes give or take and you should see it. Its now called the Festival Marketplace or something along those lines

GEORGE May 3, 2009, 12:04 pm

IT WAS ICONIC FOR IT’S TIME. WE HAD ALOT OF FUN THERE. WE MADE ALOT OF FRIENDS & MEMORIES THERE TOO, ON THE BUGETS WE HAD. IT WAS A PLACE TO GO WHEN THERE WAS NOTHING TO DO. WE’D WALK AROUND. THE PRETZEL STAND WAS THE BEST. WE WERE KIDS & THEN TOOK OUR KIDS. IT WAS A SIMPLER TIME. IT’S A SHAME HOW THEY WERE DEGRADED, AS HARD WORKING FOLK, AND WHAT THE TOWNSHIP HOODS DID TO THEM. THEY WERE JUST PEOPLE TOO.

Gary May 16, 2009, 4:19 am

As a child and then a teenager, I would venture for Hainesport to the mart FOR ONE THING, the pretzels. Being awed by anything techy, I would watch the people at the end twisting the pretzels and then they would convey down into the oil and get fried and then a thingamajig would sprinkle the salt on them. WOW were they good. At any rate, I am in TN most of the time and just miss the pretzels. Does anyone know who owned the pretzel place? I want the machine!

Buena June 3, 2009, 1:24 am

Vendors Who came from the Pennsauken Mart to the The Market Place in Willingboro, New Jersey
Gisone Photo Studio, Sox Place, Cho’s Clothing, Play with this Collectibles, Xiong Wei Chinese Massage, Fashion For You, Music Madness, IROCDIS, Wireless Shop, Marks Jewelers
The Source, Steak Place, Luggage, Bags, Clothes & Snacks & Gift Items, Fashion Forum, Growing Tree, Gold Crown Jewelry
Smokin Cats, See & Save Optical, A Barking Place, Smooth Graphics, Lucky Flower Toys, Sweet World, Bella Pizza
BBQ-Oriental Goumet, Tai Chan Steak Express, M & M Keys
Kerry’s Hot Dogs, Roman Jewelers, Airtime, Uptown Blues
Friendly Rugs and Pictures, Paintball Marshall Art Sporting Goods, Work Wear

Other Vendors in The Market Place in Willingboro, New Jersey

French Fragrances (USA), Inc 2 (closed), Lenny Beauty Supply
As Seen on TV Store, 99 cent Plus & Gift Shop, Dollar Discount, Tropic Smoothies, French Fragrances USA Inc 1
Amish Section of Stores, Bean’s Little Store, Fashion 4 Less
Mild to Wild, Flower shop, Platinum Select M & M Barber Shop
D & S Beauty Supply, Grand Vac and Sew, Betty Boop Heaven
Intimate Villa.com, Shin Brothers’ Jewelers, Tamina Shoes
Five Star Engraving, AQ Enterprise, Sinful Snacks, American Clothes, Sports Card Oasis, H & H Linen, Cornelius, Lady Rose – Women’s apparel, Rising Sons, Vintage Dressing Room
Chinese Massage, The Snake Pit, Mental Ltd Skates, Perfect Beauty Supplies, The Frame Shop, Never-E-Nuff, Grand News & Magazine Store LLC, Home and Body Essentials, Wireless Shop,
All Occasion Party Store, Inspirational Art and Accessories
J&K’s, Mediterranean Bistro, Palmas DelMar, El Taco Loco
Prince – Fish & Chips, Flamin Steaks & Burgers, Carlos – Shoe Repair, Jennys Fashion, Platinum Plus Hair Salon
Antoni USA, Pretzel Zone, Glitz & Glamour, Under One Roof
TMobile, Manufacters Factory Store – Kitchens, EQ Enterprises, Brian’s Good Scents, Express Auto Supply
Urban Cinema, Peach Blossom, Psychic Special Reading
Whats Up Fashions, Eve Enterprise, High Style, American Safari International, A-List, Unique Thangs, Faith is the Key, New Beginning, Suit city, Avon/Watkins/Stanley/Fuller Brush, Knives Deal, Gold Wing Apparel, Bolo’s Paintball Shooting Range, Brunswick Leather, Photo ID’s, Fashion Jewelry $2.00, African & Caribbean Markets – Rence’s
Mr. Good Deal’s Tools, Sneaker Store, All One Interior
Salcedo Children’s Palace, Whole Armour – Christian Apparel
Gamester, Nailery & Spa, Lilly’s Taylor & Embroidery Shop
Little Feet – Girls dresses and shoes, Urban Styles
Nadia’s Collection (women’s suits), Sarah’s Uniform Plus
Natural Selection International

Spikey October 11, 2009, 10:33 pm

I worked at the Pretzel Bakery in the Mart for many years..

I am not sad to see the Mart go…At the end it was pretty bad in there..
Lots of memories from the 70’s and 80’s

ruth January 2, 2012, 10:28 am

Pennsaucken Mart pretzels: The company re-opened (find them in this link). They are rated 5 stars and rightfully so. In Cinnaminson NJ now.

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