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Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - 4:00am

Sundays Are Busy For 'Picker' At Sprawling Macon Flea Market

John Jones uses his Sundays strictly for business.

A self-proclaimed “modern day picker,” Jones owns EcoRecycle and buys, sells and restores vintage and antique items. He spends Sundays running his shop at Smiley’s Flea Market on Hawkinsville Road.

He’s been doing this type of work for 25 years, and his mother also was a dealer.

“I started at a very young age,” he said. “I’ve been at Smiley’s for about five years now.”

It takes Jones about two hours to set up for display all of his merchandise.

“It’s a lot of moving, unpacking and moving,” he said. “You have to pack antiques really well and be careful about the way you load it and unload it.”

He doesn’t mind the work.

“It’s different, it’s not the mundane, under-the-fluorescent-lights grind of everyday jobs,” he said.

Jones frequently visits rural areas and rummages through people’s unused, outdated items.

He said he enjoys getting a glimpse at the untainted version of people’s personalities, backgrounds, and even happiness through their belongings.

“I think I was born about a hundred years too late,” he said. “I love this old stuff. … The next treasure is right around the corner.”

This piece is part of a continuing series called Macon in the Mirror. The project is being produced through a partnership involving GPB, Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism, and The Telegraph of Macon.

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