In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, co-owner Angie Ansanelli called Treasure Island Flea "an upscale urban marketplace,” adding, “We curate all the vendors." She and her husband Charles devoted two years to scouring the region for unique merchants, including dealers of vintage goods and antiques, local wineries, and gourmet food trucks. It was the natural culmination of a 25-year marriage and business partnership spent manning a string of entertainment and retail shops on Pier 39.
Those early businesses gave way to a line of patriotic sportswear just in time for the 1994 Olympics, an endeavor that ultimately inspired Treasure Island Flea: the pair wanted to market their new duds at an open-air market, but, unable to find one or lift the roof off one of their existing shops, they created their own. Today, Treasure Island Flea harbors finds such as furniture crafted from recycled ship wood, hand-stitched bags, and pinball machines. Breaks in shopping and eating are filled with live music, scavenger hunts, and do-it-yourself workshops.