Farmington Hills to celebrate Small Business Saturday with Holiday Makers Market

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published November 22, 2019

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FARMINGTON HILLS — While Black Friday and Cyber Monday allow shoppers to find deals at major retailers, Small Business Saturday provides people with the opportunity to find deals and uniquely made items in the same place while helping to support their community Nov. 30.

Local businesses can be hard to find sometimes, especially if they’re single-person operations or don’t have a storefront to showcase their products.

That’s why Farmington Hills will be bringing in 50 artisans, makers and crafters under one roof 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Costick Activities Center for the first Michigan Makers Holiday Market.

Families can browse numerous vendors selling uniquely handcrafted items and, hopefully, cross off loved ones from their holiday shopping list.

The market will feature arts and crafts from a variety of mediums, including paintings, sculptures, jewelry, ceramics, printmaking, fiber items, wearable art and more.

“It’s not all high art. It’s also a bunch of useful items that can be worn or used in a person’s daily life,” said Cultural Arts Division Programmer Karla Aren. “There’s a lot of smaller artists under one big roof. … The whole family can come, and everybody can get excited about something different.”

The Cultural Arts Division sent out a call to artists to over 1,000 people, from previous Art on the Grand vendors, City Hall’s public art program participants and more. From the applications they received, Aren and other members of the Special Services Division narrowed the list down to a final 50 that provided the best quality and variety. 

While the market isn’t entirely new to the city — it’s a redesign of the Holiday Shopping Expo the city has hosted for 20 years — Aren said declining attendance and a desire to return to featuring more local artisans and small businesses called for a shift in focus.

“We have a fair amount (of artists) coming right from here in Farmington and Farmington Hills,” she said.

Holly Bartman, 46, of Farmington, who has owned and operated Mi Chickadee, a memory quilt making company, for the past three years, is one resident artist who attendees can find at the upcoming market.

Bartman handcrafts memory quilts using people’s T-shirts, sweatshirts, jerseys and photos. She will be taking custom orders for quilts at the market, as well as selling holiday stockings, table runners, Christmas tree skirts and ornaments. More information can be found at michickadee.com.

Bartman believes an added incentive of shopping local is the connection that buyers can make with the business owners, and the knowledge that their money will help support the community as a whole.

“I think that small businesses, especially crafters, offer unique items. You’re not going to find it anywhere else. It’s made by someone, and you get to meet that person,” Bartman said. “I think in that sense it has more of a local impact. This is my livelihood. Any sales I get directly supports my family. As a resident of Farmington, I live here. I spend money here and support other small businesses, so the money stays here.”

Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Connor Osborn agrees that the revolving economy of supporting small businesses is a great asset to the community. The personal connections made are great too, he said.

“Having a face you know you can rely on and refer back to, whether you have issues with the product or you’re just generally pleased with it, is always nice,” he said. “It gives you a sense of pride in shopping locally and knowing where it’s coming from.”

It’s a “huge compliment,” Bartman said, when someone buys one of her items and supports her in that way. It allows her to donate quilts to be sold at auctions for charity, as she’s done in the past, or spend the money she’s earned with other small, local businesses.

In that sense and more, Aren believes supporting small businesses ultimately builds on itself. Where one local shop opens up, another complementary business may follow, creating a larger and more supportive ecosystem for those businesses and the community.

“I feel like once you get a community that wants to support each other with not only the kind words, but also the money in their pockets, it makes for a good community,” Aren said.

Musical entertainment during the market will be provided by Anne Jones on piano. Each attendee will receive a free raffle ticket for a variety of items donated by the market’s vendors. Some, though not all, vendors will have credit and debit card capabilities.

To view a list of vendors, visit facebook.com/events/335541330706777. For more information, call the Cultural Arts Division at (248) 473-1859.