CHEK Upside: Hillside artisan market gives vendors much needed boost amid COVID-19

WatchShoppers and vendors alike gathered in the sunshine to check out local products and experience one of the first outdoor markets this summer.

Summer markets in Victoria are back.

At exactly 11 a.m. morning, eager shoppers filed their way into a transformed Hillside Mall parking lot for the Midsummer Artisan Market.

Social distancing and mask-wearing was the name of the game for buyers and sellers alike.

“There’s a whole bunch of you know considerations that we needed to implement, everything from social distancing with the vendors as well as markers on the ground that keep customers from approaching vendors and we strongly recommend face masks,” says Hillside marketing director, Michelle Paget.

The two-day event helps small business owners looking for a little bit of financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For vendors like Laila Peterson, the event marks her first market of the year. Peterson business –  Twig and Boat –  finds creative solutions for used items like trinkets and baby booties.

“I think this is something that we’ve really all needed and we’ve all been a bit cooped up the last 4 or five months and it’s been really lovely interacting with the public,” says Peterson.

Joanne Holmes normally sets up at a market every weekend during the summer. Her business Pet Gear with Panache relies on public events for its survival.

“We’re getting a great response from the public, so they are just as happy as we are to be vending and showing our wares,” says Holmes while holding a custom made pet collar.

Although sales are important, for other vendors including Becs Black, the markets also represent an opportunity to network with others.

“The markets are great to see the other makers in town as well and really connect with the community…it’s really nice to be able to connect in person,” says Black, who runs Little Cheeker Apparel, a company that makes jeans and shirts for toddlers.

Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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