Sherri Overton, middle, of Napoleon, and Sharon Clark on the right, of Michigan Center, were mesmerized by the cute, small plants they were holding. On the left is Nancy MacKenzie of Onsted, owner of Pots . . . and Plants who had a booth at the Crabtree Kiss Handmade Market.
PHOTO BY JOHN HUMMER
By John Hummer
A wave of creativity and energy is coming together in Brooklyn as three new markets are getting underway in the village. Two of the markets have already been open, while the third kicks off on June 16. Each of the markets has its own “personality” if you will, which will give shoppers a nice variety of products to purchase.
Kate’s Art School – Farmers & Makers Market
Kate Manville-Schwartz, the owner of Kate’s Art School, received inspiration to start a farmers market when she and friend Abie Baldwin were discussing data from a not-so-recent Brooklyn survey that asked residents what they wanted to see in the village. “I was looking at it, and it just kept saying, ‘I want a farmers market.’” She said the data was from even prior to the start of the former Walker Tavern Farmers Market, which has since moved to Onsted. “I said, ‘Done – I’ll do it!’ If that’s what the people want, let’s see what happens.”
Kate’s Farmers & Makers Market will debut on Thursday, June 16 from 4 to 7 p.m. and will be open every Thursday during the same hours through Sept. 1. It will take place in the parking lot adjacent to The Tiny Pear Tree and Kate’s Art School and will be extended along the sidewalk on the west side of the Brooklyn Square. The Ladies’ Luau hosted By Kelsey’s Boutique & Gifts will also be happening on the evening of June 16. “That will be fantastic,” Kate said, noting that she already has over 20 vendors scheduled for that night.
There will also be live music sponsored by the Brokerage House as part of each Farmers and Makers Market. They will all be one or two-person bands with the exception of one – the Ben Daniels Band – scheduled for later this summer. The Village Creamery will be sponsoring a bounce house for kids and there will also be food trucks available.
Kate Manville-Schwartz, owner of Kate’s Art School, will be hosting a Farmers & Makers Market beginning Thursday, June 16 in the parking lot next to her art school and The Tiny Pear Tree. The market will continue every Thursday and will be open from 4 to 7 p.m. through Sept. 1.
PHOTO BY JOHN HUMMER
Kate’s Art School administrative manager, Kaitlyn Dear, who also owns an art business called Clexo, has a lot of experience with farmers markets. “She is really in the farmers’ market circuit and just knows a lot of farmers mainly from the Hillsdale area – good-size farms and good-size makers,” Kate said. We just kind of felt like – if we were going to do this, we’re going to do it well because we know a lot of great vendors.”
Another thing that Kate says will make her market unique is that theirs will be curated, meaning vendors will be screened based on an application and pictures they must send in. They also must have an active social media presence to be able to promote the market. “For the makers, from start to finish it must be their idea,” she noted. “And there will be preference given to people using special artistry techniques like leather making for silver smithing. It’s a very curated event.”
“Brooklyn is going to be hoppin’ on Thursdays!” Kate added. “Everybody is so excited about this. It feels like it’s organically coming together, and the stars are aligning to make this happen. It’s adding to culture.”
Kate is looking for volunteers to help with set up on Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, or if you are an interested vendor or musician, call Kate’s Art School at 517-938-8794 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find them on social media.
Crabtree Kiss Handmade Market
Christina Crabtree has long made many of her own products like t-shirts, soaps, and more and has carted them around to markets in other towns. A friend suggested that she “was much more than that” and should start her own market. Crabtree also utilizes a storefront in the plaza on the southwest corner of Main and Chicago streets in Brooklyn to sell her own and others’ products.
Soon thereafter, she contacted Dong Huynh who owns the plaza to see if she could use the parking lot on Sundays for a handmade market. Huynh gave her the go-ahead and off she went. Her first market was on April 24. “Here I am rebuilding my starving artist portfolio.
“I didn’t know it was going to be as big as my first event, and ever since then it’s still going,” Crabtree continued. She is now the host and manager of a bi-weekly handmade market nearly every other Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. She says every event she gets around 30 vendors for each market which includes 10 to 15 new vendors. Face painter Missy the Clown comes to each market for the kids.
The market takes vendors who produce handmade crafts and some who do direct sales. “If somebody wants to sell their stuff, I’m going to let them sell their stuff,” she said. “People have hobbies that they did on the side and have stuff in their houses that needs to get out. People need to see their wonderful work. I just want the community to come in and work together and get everybody alive again,” as she spoke about coming out of COVID.
The next Crabtree Kiss Handmade Market will be Sunday, June 26. For more information, contact Christina Crabtree at 517-260-3614.
M-50 Brooklyn Open Air Market
Stacy Saxton – who owns Cairns Creations & VIP in the Marco’s plaza – is the energy behind the M-50 Brooklyn Open Air Market, otherwise known as “BOAM”. The market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting, in the lot directly south of Big Boy. The M-50 BOAM is also open every Wednesday evening during the Brooklyn Big Boy Cruise-In Car Show from 5 to 8 p.m.
Saxton has spent the last five years bringing her own creations to events in Hillsdale. She then opened her storefront in Brooklyn and soon realized Brooklyn did not have any sort of “open market” for other artists, crafters, and the like to bring their products to sell to the community and its visitors. “If my store is in Brooklyn, I want to keep the money in Brooklyn,” she said.
These works of art were available at the M-50 Brooklyn Open Air Market, which is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. during the Brooklyn Big Boy car show.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BOAM
The M-50 BOAM has around 56 vendors currently signed up. “It just depends on who is available from week to week,” Saxton noted, as to the number of vendors there on a given Saturday.
The concept of an “open-air market” means the market is open to all vendors, Saxton explained, including direct sales, cottage goods (cookies, baked goods, etc.), handmade items, and produce/farmers market items. She noted that it is still too early in the season for the farmers’ market products. “When fruits and vegetables become available, we’ll have that option, too,” Saxton said.
For more information, contact Saxton at 517-677-3133.