Jun 9, 2010: Market Business: Street to Storefront

Throughout its nearly 30 years, the Flea Market at Eastern Market has incubated dozens of creative endeavors into actual brick and mortar businesses.  Both established and emerging incubations caught our attention recently.

Jim Nixon, who with partner Hector Zarate, established the popular Peruvian-Import Adams Morgan store, Toro Mata, at 2410 18th Street, NW, a few years back, recently wrote:

"I hadn't been through Eastern Market on Sunday in about a year when I actually won one of the $25 gift cards on your website recently.  That prompted me to consider checking out the merchandise there to see if anything would fit into our store inventory at Toro Mata. The following Sunday morning I was walking the tent displays.  As it turns out, an exhibitor had several pieces of furniture in good condition and at very fair prices that would fit into my shop's current product mix.

"I returned the following week and purchased more furniture and small items and food from a couple of the other vendors.  And it was the gift card that prompted me to visit after a long absence!

"The overall quantity, quality and diversity of merchandise available in the schoolyard has never been better in my 15 years experience as a vendor and/or customer," concluded Nixon.

The emerging brick and mortar business is that of Jon Wye, who was featured in the May 16 issue of "WP," the Washington Post Magazine, which reported Wye had "signed a contract to open his first store...by joining 59 merchants in Limelight Marketplace in Manhattan."

Wye, a belt and alternative clothing designer, launched his Flea Market at Eastern Market business in 2007 and first attracted Washington Post ink in October 2009.

Read the entire Post magazine story here.

Recruitment of artists for the 18th annual festival was announced recently by Michael Berman, Executive Director of Diverse Markets Management (DMM), a Flea Market at Eastern Market related company.
"The Washington Examiner's Arts On Foot is Washington, DC's, premier outdoor arts festival," wrote Berman.  "Spanning four city blocks, the event kicks off the Fall arts season and showcases the best that Downtown DC has to offer.  Held in the vibrant Penn Quarter neighborhood and with the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture as its backdrop, the festival," sponsored by Wines of Argentina, will be held Saturday, September 11.
"Following the success of the 2009 Art Market, the 2010 juried Fine Arts Market will expand to four days from Wednesday, September 8 through Saturday, September 11, the festival day.  On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the Art Market will be set up on the wide F Street sidewalk between 7th and 9th streets NW, adjacent to the Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture," Berman continued.
"The Market is within steps of two Gallery Place metro entrances; across the street are the Verizon Center, and the bustling 7th Street Gallery Place corridor.  The Hotel Monaco, the International Spy Museum, and upscale restaurants face the Market. Accompanied by a stage with low-key entertainment, specialty food options, and an information booth, the Art Market introduces the event and the participating artists to the burgeoning Downtown office and Penn Quarter neighborhood populations, providing a taste of what will take place at the festival on Saturday when the Art Market expands to incorporate 30 to 50 additional artists."

Complete information and online application are available here.

Some Flea Market at Eastern Market "Food at the Flea" exhibitors have participated in the new Capitol Riverfront Market, offering fresh produce and locally prepared foods, which opened Thursday, May 6th and continues from 3 pm to 7 pm weekly through November 18th at the intersection of New Jersey Ave., SE & M St., SE, adjacent to the Navy Yard Metro (New Jersey Ave exit).
Among vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables, breads and baked goods, herbs and spices, pickles, olive oil, jams, honey, desserts, flowers, and prepared foods have been Micha's Sorbet, Bonjour La Parisienne, and Virginia Bakery.  Also managed by DMM, Berman said, "Tomorrow's market should be particularly vibrant" as the National's baseball series with the Pirates, which yesterday featured the frenzy of a prodigy pitcher's major league debut, concludes with a 7:05 game at the nearby stadium.