Ty and Lauren Smallwood are both lifelong Hamiltonians, and are the founders of the Hamilton Flea.
In addition to the Flea, Lauren is involved with the 17 Strong advisory board, the Art Strategy Team, Girls Inc. at the YWCA, and the Hamilton Eats Coalition.
Ty serves as the principal at Highland Elementary School, participates in the Leaders at the Blue (LAB), and is involved with the Pastor Shaq Job Mentoring Program.
QWhat is your favorite part about Hamilton?
AWe love that Hamilton has a big city feeling, but is still a small town. There is a strong sense of connectivity throughout the community.
QWhat makes Hamilton a good location for the Flea?
AWhen we were first establishing the Hamilton Flea, we looked to other outdoor urban fleas for inspiration and identified key features: outdoor entertainment space, a love for art in the community, parking availability, and other community events.
We found all of these key features in Hamilton. RiversEdge, Marcum Park, and German village provide plenty of outdoor entertainment space. The Fitton Center, Art Space, and all of the murals and sculptures around town demonstrate the community’s support for art. We found that the downtown area provides plenty of parking for the Flea. Alive After 5 and Operation Pumpkin are great events that add energy and a sense of community in the downtown area..
Finally, the City of Hamilton and the members of the community have been instrumental in the success of the Hamilton Flea. The enthusiasm from the city and the members of the community helped foster the Hamilton Flea idea into a reality.
We’ve been fortunate enough to partner with other organizations around town as well. This gives us the opportunity to cross promote events. We work closely with Neal’s BBQ and with the YWCA for these types of cross promotions, and it’s nice to support each other’s efforts.
QWhy should people choose to live and work in Hamilton?
AWe often wonder why people wouldn’t want to live in Hamilton. It has everything you want in a suburb. Hamilton has great neighborhoods and schools, job opportunities, new businesses, diversity, and plenty of community activities.
We feel a real sense of pride in who we are as a city. There is so much collaboration and a mentality of wanting to support each other, so there are plenty of connections to be made.
The Flea was a unique project for us, and we are happy that the idea became a reality. It was exciting to think up the idea, recognize its potential, and see it through. We encourage others with ideas to take the risk, find support in the community, and go for it!
Our community is full of so many positives. It’s exciting to be a Hamiltonian.
“Ty and Lauren are excellent representatives of people who are Hamilton. Their passion for our city is evident in all that they do.” –Aaron Hufford
QCan people get involved in your organizations/projects? If so, how?
AThe Hamilton Flea welcomes volunteers with open arms. We can always use volunteers for all aspects of the event, whether it’s selling Flea merchandise, working a food booth, or helping with set-up and tear-down, we are thrilled to have volunteers helping us.
The Flea also welcomes new and potential vendors. The Flea is a great place to showcase talents and creativity as an individual or a small business.