5 Unique Artisan Markets in the U.S.
An alternative to shopping malls and big box retail stores, artisan markets are also a great stop for travelers who want to pick up local goods and get a taste for the creative life of a new city.
And artisan marketplaces are starting to spring up around the country. The concept brings local vendors, craftspeople and boutique businesses into open, loft-like spaces and often include farm-to-table food restaurants in the mix. Not only do these marketplaces provide a more intimate and specialized shopping experience such as Seattle’s Melrose Market (pictured above) but they also function as informal social gathering places where shoppers can meet and interact with local craftspeople, artists and designers.
Citizen Supply, Atlanta
Located on the second floor of Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Georgia, Citizen Supply is the concept of creative entrepreneur Phil Sanders. What began as Foster, a pop-up shop for local artists to sell their creations, eventually morphed into Citizen Supply, a larger organization where more than a hundred craftspeople from around the country sell small batch, local and sustainable brands. For example, Little Artifacts offers handmade table lamps, floor lamps and pendants and Flordeliza Brand, a bag and accessory design studio, specializes in leather. The 12,000 square-foot artisan marketplace provides a wide range of high quality, handmade goods which run the gamut from apothecary items to office supplies to jewelry. The Ponce City Market location is also particularly appealing due to the excellent selection of restaurants and grab-and-go food stalls on the ground floor such as W.H. Stiles Fish Camp (seafood), Botiwalla (Indian street food) and El Super Pan (Latin inspired sandwiches and hot plates). The City Winery, a live music venue/restaurant, is another reason the place is always buzzing with Atlantans and visitors who have come to hang out, eat, shop and enjoy live entertainment under one (enormous) roof.
The Source, Denver
A unique foodie experience that combines specialty food stores, restaurants and a brewery, this destination in a former 1880s brick foundry is located in Denver’s River North District. Among the 15 merchants in this lively artisan food market are Boxcar Coffee Roasters, Beet & Yarrow, which offers seasonal produce and floral designs, Babettes Artisan Breads, Mondo Market, specializing in cheeses and spices, SVPER ORDINARY, a design store and gallery space, the Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project (the place to come for sampling sour beers) and Comida, a modern Mexican taqueria. The Source also hosts a monthly schedule of pop-up food and craft events.
Barnone, Gilbert, Arizona
Situated in the up and coming community of Gilbert, Arizona (20 miles southeast of downtown Phoenix), Barnone is a community of craftspeople and artisans who operate their businesses out of a massive converted barn. The austere but visually striking space offers a dining/shopping concept that combines restaurants with a brewery, a winemaker, a salon, a produce vendor, a florist and a full-service gunsmith. The hours of operation vary for each vendor and there is a monthly calendar of events that foster community involvement with live music acts, yoga classes and a movie night. Among the artisans represented are Everybody Loves Flowers (a floral arrangement/home decor service), Prickly Pear Paper (handcrafted paper goods, pictured above), Wander (hair salon) and Fire & Brimstone (rustic, wood-fired cuisine).
Newbo City Market, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Anyone traveling to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, should definitely check out this impressive showcase for small food entrepreneurs and home-grown businesses. Located in the city’s New Bohemia neighborhood, the year-round public facility features both permanent shops and seasonal vendors. Rare Bird Soap Shop (skin care products and handcrafted soaps), The Artisan’s Emporium (children’s clothes, wraps and scarves by local spinners) and Furry Friends (accessories for pets and wildlife) are just a sample of the local crafters on display at Newbo City Market. And there is an even larger offering of specialty food merchants such as Corn Fusion (Iowa-grown popcorn), Zaza’s Pasta (fresh pasta to go) and Sausage Foundry (heritage pork products).
Melrose Market, Seattle
One of the first artisan markets to gain national attention, this stylish indoor food and retail market first opened in 2010 in the Pike-Pine neighborhood of Seattle. The setting is a pair of historic automotive buildings circa 1919-1926 which were converted into Melrose Market and include a large event space and catering facility. The restaurants Sirka & Spruce, Bar Ferdinand, Still Liquor and Homegrown (craft sandwiches, seasonal salads and breakfast) are popular with the foodie and cocktail crowd but are also instrumental in attracting visitors who like to linger and shop at stores like Marigold and Mint (an organic floral shop), Glasswing (clothing, jewelry, accessories) and Butter Home (wall art, lighting and gifts for the kitchen, office and garden).
All of these artisan markets herald the beginning of an exciting new trend that is happening not just in major cities but in medium-size towns and communities across the country.