UP Market, June 2014 - Vendors, Managers, Products and a few Customers

The June 21, 2014 UP Market in Uphams Corner had everything in its favor - vendors, organizers, equipment, products and beautiful weather.  The only thing missing was customers.  The Paraiso Plaza setting, how vendors presented their products and the quality of the products, the welcoming table - all very professional.  "The gang's all here!"  That's the challenge for the next UP Market in July.

The first of five open air markets scheduled for 2014 in Uphams Corner - dubbed the UP Markets - took place on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at the Paraiso Plaza on Dudley Street.  Sunny and warm with only periodic gusts of wind, Saturday's weather couldn't have been better. 

UP Market June 21, 2014
UP Market from Dudley Street
UP Market June 21, 2014Teha Bryant-Woodrow with handmade gift baskets

While you want opening day to be perfect, that's the one day when the kinks have to be worked out and June 21 was no different. By 9:30 AM Saturday morning (all vendors were expected to arrive before 9:45), only one vendor had arrived but that was pretty much irrelevant since the tables, chairs and canopies were nowhere to be seen.

They arrived an hour or so later and that's also when the marketing managers discovered that the 10 foot canopies were actually nine footers, making it difficult for the UP Market organizing committee to follow through on their original plan of having two vendors share one canopy.

While vendors were setting up their tables, Vernell Jordan, Justin Almeida and Jaypix Belmer showed remarkable teamwork in erecting the canopies and securing them safely. Even with the nice weather, the canopies served their purpose well - protecting the vendors and their products (an extra $10.00) from the hot and bright angular sun coming across the plaza.  Especially for vendors with photos and cellophane covered baskets, the canopies minimized damage from direct sunlight - trapped moisture and warpage.

Vendors & Customers

Vernell expected up to 10 vendors but only six materialized: Sadie Barboza, Teha Bryant-Woodrow, Lantanya Ramsey, Clarinda King, Nancy Conrad and Jaypix Belmer.  They offered a range of products including photos, greeting cards, hand knit scarves, bath products, gift baskets and jewelry. 
Foot traffic was light.  Greeters on Dudley street encouraged passersby to come into the market (step onto the Paraiso Plaza) but most said no. Liora Beer registered 16 visitors and "maybe another dozen more," she guessed. Spread over four hours, that was a confirmed four visitors per hour while only some made purchases. 

"In back" of the vendors is Belden Street, descending the hill.  The short one-block section from Dudley to Belden Square was closed off to traffic.  At Belden Square, a stage was set up for DJ music which provided a lively ambience although it did make vendor / customer conversations difficult. 

In the afternoon, Toni Rose read her poem, "Poetic."   As if the community had "come alive," Toni reading her poem opened us to another artist in the community, one who doesn't sell at the UP Market but who is important to the growth of Uphams Corner as a destination for the arts.

The UP Market vendors remained positive throughout the day. One participant said she was pleased with how professional the market looked.  Another said the plaza had never been put to such good use - achieving its full commercial potential.  All of the vendors said they liked the setting and would be back in July.

The challenge now is how to get people with $$ to show up in Uphams Corner for the July 19 UP market and to entice them into spending their $$.

UP Market June 21, 2014
Liora Beer at the welcoming table
UP Market June 21, 2014
Lantanya Ramsey selling jewelry
UP Market June 21, 2014
Uphams Arts with greeting cards, photos and a book (Nancy Conrad)
UP Market June 21, 2014
Julia Roth, Project Manager for UP Truck
UP Market June 21, 2014
Sadie Barboza (right) - Divine Treasures Jewelry
UP Market June 21, 2014
Clarinda King - Clarinda's Creations
UP Market June 21, 2014Jaypix Belmer - artistic photos
UP Market June 21, 2014
Another view of the UP Market

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Posted: June 24, 2014    Nancy J Conrad