Local artist Katie Hammond shows off some of her glass-crafted jewelry as part of the Harper Woods Bazaar. The next bazaar will take place alongside Harper Woods SOUP on Sunday, Sept. 15, at Eastland Mall.

Local artist Katie Hammond shows off some of her glass-crafted jewelry as part of the Harper Woods Bazaar. The next bazaar will take place alongside Harper Woods SOUP on Sunday, Sept. 15, at Eastland Mall.

Photo provided by Ernestine Lyons

Harper Woods SOUP and Bazaar combine for community event

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published August 20, 2019

HARPER WOODS — Two Harper Woods events are combining to give residents a chance to support their local community and encourage business development in the area.

The second Harper Woods SOUP program is partnering with the Harper Woods Bazaar — formerly known as the Harper Woods Flea Market. The bazaar will begin at noon, while SOUP will begin at 6 p.m. It takes place on Sunday, Sept. 15, inside the former Burlington Coat Factory at Eastland Mall, at 18000 Vernier Road.

“We want to showcase what the people of Harper Woods have to offer,” said Harper Woods SOUP founder Ernestine Lyons. “The flea market had been a successful endeavor in the past, and I spoke with (event organizer Char Jones), and we decided to partner up to foster a feeling of resurgence and opportunities.”

SOUP is a program in which entrepreneurs from the area submit ideas, the most promising of which are presented to the public at a dinner. Each entrepreneur pitches their concept to the public, and the public votes on the concept that should receive the money raised from the event as an initial investment. Additionally, Eastland Mall is offering the SOUP winner three months of free rental space in the mall.

“We select them based on their vision, if it’s achievable and if they have a solid timeline and plan for what they will do if they are selected,” Lyons said.

The bazaar will feature local crafters and artisans selling their creations to the public.

“We will have a lot of artists and crafts,” said Jones. “A lot of the Eastland Mall businesses will have pop-up-style booths at the bazaar as well. We have a woman who will be selling handmade jewelry; there are some women making windchimes and porch art; we have artists who will be showing off paintings and sculptures. Hopefully, we will have a good mix of people and products.”

People have until Sept. 12 to sign up to take part in the bazaar. They can sign up at Harper Woods City Hall, at 19617 Harper Ave., at the cashier window, and they can rent a space for $15, although vendors need to provide their own tables, chairs and other supplies.

Lyons said it is a great opportunity for residents for a low cost.

“It’s $5 for the cost of admission, which pays for your food,” she explained. “While there, you can enjoy musical performances and see the business pitches. Then (attendees) get to ask the entrepreneurs questions about their business. They get some time to discuss the different ideas as they eat dinner and consider what is good for Harper Woods. Once the votes are in, the one with the most gets the money raised from the event.”

There is no cost to attend the bazaar.

Organizers are excited to team up and have access to the larger, indoor space in the mall. They also explained that changing the name of the flea market to the “bazaar” should more accurately reflect the event.

“This is a fall event and because it’s inside now, we wanted to take the event in a new direction,” said Jones. “Plus, ‘flea market’ makes a lot of people think of old stuff, but this is more focused on a variety of things, including new items and more handmade products and art.”

SOUP had its first pitch dinner in April. The winner from that event, Elise Harris Bey, will be speaking at the September SOUP program about her winning pitch — Ice Cream Dream — the process and what the winnings have done for her and her business.

“Her idea was ‘Ice Cream Dream,’ and it was plant-based dessert. She encouraged healthy, nutritious eating. Everyone who pitched that night had a plant-based healthy living business proposal,” said Lyons. “I think her energy set her apart. She got up there and she really made us all want to believe in her idea. … She radiated positive energy, hope and possibility. She was as sweet and charming as the cupcakes she brought to share with the audience.”

Both organizers said it will be a fun day and a great way to encourage growth and improvement in the community.

“We want to bring neighbors together so they realize they can bring about change they want to see in the community. Getting to have dinner, and talk and see different ideas going on within Harper Woods is a great way to be a force of change,” said Lyons. “You’re going to enjoy meeting your neighbors and supporting your community. We can’t just complain about what’s wrong without supporting ways to improve it. This will bring innovative new ideas to the city and support local endeavors all while enjoying some great food.”

“I want the event to bring the community together,” added Jones. “I hope everybody comes out and continues to make these events great. Each one gets better and better.”