There needs to be more local options for crafters, growers, makers and vendors to market their goods – at least according to the four ladies who have launched a new initative to remedy that problem.
Becky Wolfe, Ruth McMonagle, Nadia Rieger and Noella Duncan have joined forces and are in the process of taking applications for involvement in the Willow Point Summer Market, which is scheduled to run every other weekend from June 2 through Aug. 27.
Wolfe was one of the organizers of the indoor market launched earlier this year at the Campbell River Common, “and she came to me one of the times I was involved and said, ‘we should do something in the summer, too,’” McMonagle says.
The indoor market is coming to an end at the end of this month, leaving what they see as a gap in a huge local need.
They met up with Rieger – owner/operator of The Crow’s Nest Gallery in Sunrise Square – knowing that she had run a successful art event in the parking lot between that complex and the Willow Point Tim Hortons last year.
Reiger hopped on board, they added Duncan to the mix, and the team was complete.
The market will run Friday nights from 5 to 10 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Is there really that much demand for market space?
With the season coming to an end at the indoor market, Wolfe says, there absolutely is.
“We’re not trying to compete with the Pier Street Market at all, we’re looking to complement it,” Wolfe says.
“We’ve heard a lot of talk about how vendors have said they can’t get into the Pier Street Market or other smaller markets.”
“Or they’re tired of travelling out of town to other markets all the time,” Duncan adds. “I’ve heard quite a bit of that. People are excited that they’re going to have something else local they can get involved in to sell their stuff at as opposed to heading to Parksville or even further.”
“And how many times has someone said to you that there’s nothing to do here, so they’re heading down to Courtenay or down Island somewhere?” McMonagle asks. “Well, we’re going to give them something else to do.”
The main benefit of having it three times a week, every other week, the group says, is that it will naturally be something different every time.
“Not everyone is going to want to sell at every market,” Wolfe says. “We can have three different soap vendors on a Saturday and completely different ones on the Sunday, or whatever. We have a few people that have said they’re in for every one, but most of the vendors will change not only every week, but every day each weekend.”
They will aslo be doing their best to mix things up and make each day of the market something unique, whether that’s incorporating a theme or booking musical guests or entertainment for a specific day.
And there may be baby goats sometimes.
They aren’t making any promises on that at this point, however.
There has been some concern raised about whether there is ample parking for the situation, the group says, but they don’t feel it will be a problem if they stay organized.
“We’ll have signage to direct people in terms of where to park, our vendors will all know where to leave their vehicles after they set up their areas. I’m sure there will be a lot of learning and adjusting as we go along – especially once we see how many people are wanting to attend – but we’re confident that it’s not going to be a problem,” Wolfe says.
They also intentionally scheduled the market for the weekends before and after the Shoreline Arts Driftwood Carving Competition weekend, scheduled this year for June 21-25, to avoid further increasing traffic congestion in the area that weekend.
For more information on the Willow Point Summer Market, visit their Facebook page. You can also message them through Facebook for a vendor application or stop in to Crow’s Nest Gallery and pick up a physical copy.
“Applications have been pouring in,” McMonagle says, “but we always want more – and from different types of vendors of all kinds. We want carvers and bakers and growers and artists and photographers and everyone who wants to join us.
“Let’s see what we can make this thing into.”