Courtside open air market gives vendor a boost in business

For small home based business owners like Diana Weaver, owner of The Yellow Bake Shoppe, The Courtside Open Air Market helps boost their business and profits with increased sales.

Weaver, who set up at the market for the first time last summer, credits the market with helping her business boom, saying it gave her the chance to display her product and interact with customers.

Weaver who bakes macaroons in her kitchen, in a wide variety of flavors and colors, typically takes orders online and meets them with her customers to deliver. She said the market puts her in front of potential customers instead of them having to come find her.

She also noted that it can be difficult to get local people to follow you online without them seeing you anywhere in person.

Being at the market last year went well for Weaver. “The first couple of weeks, I kept making more and more and kept selling them all. It was a lot of fun.”

She is returning to the market this year to reconnect with her customers. While the market will run every Wednesday, Weaver will only be there for the first Wednesday of each month.

Weaver, who got her start after her helping her sister-in-law bake macaroons for Christmas Eve about four years ago supplies Chapman’s Coffee House in New Concord and The Walk Cafe in Zanesville with macaroons, in addition to taking online orders.

After helping her sister-in-law, Weaver said she just started making macaroons on her own and posting them on Instagram back in 2020.

“It just took off,” Weaver said.

She noted that she had several customers through supplying the coffee shops, but last summer when she started doing the market is when she really got busy.

Since the market’s opening day falls right before Mother’s Day, Weaver said she plans to make Mother’s Day flavored macaroons to sell that week. Available flavors for the May 4 market will be: strawberry shortcake, passionfruit, vanilla latte, white chocolate lavender, Frerro Rocher (hazelnut) and mojito (lime mint flavor).

The market moved from Tractor Supply to the Courthouse lawn last year is now named the Courtside Open Air Market.

In addition to Weaver and her macaroons, the market will feature a variety of unique vendors including: a leather worker, several bakers, one which will feature gluten free cookies, a honey vendor, a homemade playdough vender, along with vendors for cut flowers and potted plants, bird feeders, pottery, painted canvases, a salsa vender and a vendor who makes cutting and cubitiere boards.

According to the market’s secretary / treasurer Marsha Stroud, there is also the possibility of a kettlekorn vendor. Stroud is still waiting confirmation from the vender.

Stroud said that out of the estimated 20-25 vendors, at least 10 of them are returning from last year and that there would be more produce vendors there this year, which is something she said the market was lacking last year. Additionally she is hoping to have several food trucks there as well.

Vendors cannot just show up to the market and set up, they must apply, be juried and approved first.

Anyone wanting to be a market vendor can call Stroud at 740-584-0691. Vendors can set up weekly, monthly or one time.

Stroud noted that the market is currently working on being able to accept Senior Nutrition and SNAP vouchers.

This will be the market’s second year setting up on the Courthouse lawn on Wheeling Ave.

Stroud said the market’s committee got a lot of positive feedback on making the switch from a weekday morning farmers’ market in front of Tractor Supply on Southgate Parkway to a weekday evening open air market in downtown.

There were advertising problems at first due to the move being in the middle of the season, Stroud said, and the rain caused it to be cancelled a few times, but the people really liked it being in the evening hours.

“The Courthouse is better suited for it, because people that work couldn’t come to our market when it was… In the morning,” Stroud said. “I think it’s also more accessible for people who may or may not drive. Overall I think It was a success.”

The Courtside Open Air Market will be held every Wednesday from 5-7 pm, starting May 4 through Sept. 28, on the Courthouse lawn, 801 Wheeling Ave.

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