Sunday, 04 October 2015 17:55

From yard sales to business, the Martinez brothers are hard at work Featured

Written by Irene Pappas
Carlos and Josiamar Martinez at the Jonesborough Flea Market Carlos and Josiamar Martinez at the Jonesborough Flea Market Photos: Irene Pappas

From humble beginnings in Mexico City to a life in Northeast Tennessee, brothers Josiamar and Carlos Martinez dreamed of owning their own business.

During their childhoods in Mexico City, the brothers were already earning their own money.

“We made favors to the people,” Josiamar said. “They asked, ‘Can you buy something for me at the store?’, and we made money and would use bicycles to get there. We were 6 and 11 years old. Older people, they don’t want to go out, and would tip us and things like that.”

Visiting yard sales throughout the year helps keep the brothers in business at the Jonesborough Flea Market, where they work on Sundays.

The brothers’ goal is to make enough profit from yard-sale treasures to operate their own business.

During the week, Josiamar, 25, works for Industrial Electronic Services in Gray, while Carlos, 21, works for Harper Acura in Knoxville.

At the flea market, they sell car audio equipment, clothes and children’s toys.

"If [my father] saw a stroller with a missing or broken wheel, he would find another and put it together and sell it."

– Carlos Martinez


The Jonesborough Flea Market was founded in 1993 and is located in Telford, Tennessee, off U.S. 11 E. The flea market is open on Sundays from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. It offers a variety of foods and household goods, such as ripe fruits and vegetables, clothing, books, antiques, military surplus and electronic automotive accessories.

According to Flea Market Décor, the Jonesborough Flea Market ranks in the top 50 flea markets nationwide.

The Martinez brothers recall when they lived in Mexico City and their father Elmundo sold clothes and other finds such as baby strollers at the local market.

“If he saw a stroller with a missing or broken wheel, he would find another and put it together and sell it,” said Carlos.

Watching their father fix anything he could get his hands on, make it new again and earn a profit, gave the brothers the idea to preserve unique discoveries that needed a little work and turn that into a business.

The Martinez brothers are not alone on Sundays. Along with their father, Carlos’ wife Delylah also accompanies them.

Working at the flea market may be a family business, but Delylah said working with family can be difficult at times.

"Every now and then we fight, but then I think about it, calm down and get over it."

– Carlos Martinez

“However, it is a great experience to bond together and bringing up each other as a team,” Delylah said. “We see so many people trying to bring each other down, it’s sad.”

For the brothers, getting along with each other has never been an issue.

“Every now and then we fight, but then I think about it, calm down and get over it,” said Carlos.

Occasionally, issues arise with how the money should be spent.

“When it comes to decisions, if I want to buy something, [Josiamar]’s like, ‘You already have too much stuff,’” said Carlos.

In the future when the family is ready to open their own store, the location will likely be in Jonesborough or Greeneville.

Jonesborough is only a few miles from the flea market. This can help the Martinez brothers maintain their current clients. Greeneville is the halfway mark between Carlos’ home in Knoxville and Josiamar’s home in Chuckey.

People who live in town and in nearby towns know the Martinez brothers through their reputation and their work at the market. Staying close to where they got their start could be beneficial for business, the brothers say.

 Brothers hard at workDelylah and the brothers’ parents are proud to see Josiamar and Carlos united and progressing in life.

Their mother Esther taught them that if they start to do well for themselves, Carlos and Josiamar should not begin to treat others poorly.

“They have come a long way since I have met Carlos and Josiamar when I was 15,” Delylah said. “Seeing them work in tobacco farms to being so close to owning their own business is amazing. They both have worked hard to get where they are today and hopefully soon to own their own location.”

Above right: Carlos is showing his customer how to set up their new equipment. Left: Josiamar displays merchandise.

In Spanish: De ventas de yarda a negocios, los hermanos Martínez están trabajando duro

Read 1519 times Last modified on Friday, 29 April 2016 14:39