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April 17, 2013

Fill a need by filling a shopping bag

Tau Beta’s Spring Market fundraiser supports children and families in need

By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Pomegranate Seeds of Arlington, Va., sells linens and other tableware items, and is one of the popular returning Spring Market vendors.

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Forget the robins and tulips: A true sign of spring is the annual arrival of Tau Beta’s Spring Market.

The 10th annual fundraiser for the nonprofit Children’s Center of Detroit will feature the latest spring styles in fashion, home goods, accessories and more when it returns to the Grosse Pointe Club April 25-27. More than 20 boutiques from around the country will feature their unique wares — from the elaborate culinary confections of Caroline’s Cakes to classic children’s clothing, from Sissy Pie Originals to needlepoint belts by Smathers & Branson or beautiful cuff bracelets by ÉVOCATEUR. Some of the vendors are familiar to local residents from previous Spring Markets or from Holiday Mart, another shopping fundraiser that takes place each fall at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.

Shoppers who want first crack at these items can attend the preview party from 6:30-9 p.m. April 25. Tickets are $65 per person and include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a chance to start shopping early. There will also be a raffle for prizes ranging from a Detroit Tigers game luxury suite and dinner package to an Ippolita sterling silver necklace, earring and bracelet set. Raffle tickets are $25 apiece or five for $100. New this year is a special champagne reception from 5:30-6:30 p.m. April 25 that’s being offered to preview party patrons who underwrite the event at the Worth Avenue level and above.

Shopping continues from 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. April 26 and from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. April 27, with $5 admission at the door. Cocktails can be purchased from 4-7 p.m. April 26, and lunch can be purchased with cash only during regular market hours.

Beth Fisher and Laura Krueger are co-chairs of this year’s event. Both live in Grosse Pointe Farms and have been involved with the event since its inception.

In an email interview, Krueger said shoppers could expect to find “a little bit of everything for everyone” in a range of price points.

“Spring Market has survived and grown, despite a bad economy, due to the quality and variety of vendors it attracts and the chance it offers metro Detroiters to give back to the community when they shop,” she said, adding that all proceeds benefit The Children’s Center of Detroit.

And as in the case with real estate, Spring Market’s mantra could easily be location, location, location.

“Shoppers enjoy the Spring Market experience because they love to shop in a beautiful lakefront location, overlooking Lake St. Clair, just as the weather is starting to break from a long, cold winter, and meet vendors from across the country whose merchandise is not readily available in local stores,” Krueger said. “We comb the country for some of the most interesting specialty boutiques representing 11 states, including five locally grown businesses.”

Krueger said Spring Market is Tau Beta’s largest annual fundraiser, and they’re “most excited about celebrating” their 10th anniversary — a milestone made possible “by the many Tau Beta volunteers who have put countless hours and creative energy into making Spring Market what it is today.”

Over the last 10 years, Spring Market has grown steadily. Organizers say 75 attended the first preview party, but more than 250 were at last year’s preview. Attendance overall has tripled, with an estimated 500-600 stopping in last year.

In an interview by email, Fisher said the number of vendors “has almost doubled,” and “the community support through sponsorships and donations has exceeded all of our expectations.” Corporate support is up, as well, she said.

“We have brought back some of our very best vendors from the past 10 years — our ‘old favorites,’ as we like to call them — as well as some fresh and exciting new vendors that will not disappoint for this very special year,” Fisher said.

While it’s a fun event, there is a serious intent behind it. During its relatively brief history, Spring Market has raised about $500,000 for The Children’s Center of Detroit, which Krueger said helps “children and families shape their futures.”

“Some of the programs that have been made possible, in part, by Spring Market are: The Center for Discovery, which is a multi-media resource center offering educational programs for children and their families; The Boutique, offering gently used clothing and much needed items and nonperishable food for the clients of The Children’s Center; and the Young Adult Self-Sufficiency Program to empower low-income foster care youth ages 16-20 to help them live productive, independent lives, among others,” Krueger said. “The difference made by Spring Market in the community is what keeps the event going each year.”

The Grosse Pointe Club is located at 6 Berkshire Place, nestled behind Grosse Pointe Memorial Church on Lake Shore Road. For preview party tickets or more information, visit www.taubeta.org or www.facebook.com/TBSpringMarket, or email spring market@taubeta.org.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer K. Michelle Moran at kmoran@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1047.