Big floppy sun hats and vintage cruisers with wicker baskets have a short span of idyllic summertime utility. Whether it's biking to Zamzows to pick up tomato starts for your garden or perusing the Capital City Public Market for fresh chard, there are only so many activities that effectively blend the essence of the two. Luckily, this spring will bring one more opportunity to slather on some SPF 30, secure your khaki chin strap and hop on your Schwinn: the Sunday Market at the Linen Building.
"The Sunday Market was in my original plans," explains building owner David Hale. "We've got seven or eight different floor plans of how things can set up in the space, ranging from banquets with five-foot round [tables] to theatre-style seating to fashion shows to a market. So it's been in the works ever since we started."
The Linen Building, located in the similarly named Linen District, has been a hotbed of activity of late. From album release parties to nonprofit fund-raising events, Hale has been trying to maximize the revenue-generating potential of the space while also providing a venue close to downtown for creative events. The Sunday Market, a once-a-month indoor event, will be similar to the Capital City Public Market in some ways, but on a much smaller scale. And on Sundays.
"The concept is based off of that whole Saturday market, outdoor marketplace environment, but I've got this indoor, climate-controlled opportunity for vendors—or I shouldn't say vendors, I'm calling them creators."
Though Hale only recently put out a call for "creators," he's already drummed up an impressive amount of buzz. Last week, he sent out comprehensive applications, including a packet, contract, letter of intent and planned layout to the 50 people who've expressed interest in the market so far. Unfortunately, the space can only comfortably accommodate around half that number.
"I've had an overwhelming amount of interest, which is fantastic. The challenge is, I've only got 21 booth spaces," says Hale.
Logistically, each of the spaces will run vendors $50 per month, with 10 percent of the total sales from each vendor going to the Linen Building, a portion of which will then be donated to a local charity. Each vendor must commit to a minimum of three months, be able to provide or purchase a $500,000 liability insurance policy and also apply for a temporary merchant permit from the City of Boise, which lasts for the entire season.
"I've got food, flowers, art and crafts, jewelry, clothing, possibly some housewares, some gardenwares," explains Hale. "I'm trying to get a very good eclectic mix of quality local entrepreneurs or business owners."
The Sunday Market at the Linen Building will differ from the other farmers' markets that have popped up in Kuna, Nampa, Meridian and Eagle because it will be more artisan-based than agriculturally based. But like the Capital City Public Market—which is a producer-only market where half of the 130 vendors are local agricultural growers and half are artists—the Sunday market specifies that items must be "handmade, grown, assembled, nurtured or gathered by the creator, a member of their immediate family, or a partner in craft." Though the items will be local and handmade, it's yet to be seen whether a primarily artisan market will have the same draw as a mainly agricultural market.
"Artisan markets are fun, they're good, but whether they're a sustainable thing on their own—just art or antiques or resale stuff—I really don't have a feel for how that works," explains Karen Ellis, executive director of the Capital City Public Market. "It's an economic time where art is something that people will more than likely be very discretionary about purchasing."
Though Ellis is excited to see another market spring up in downtown Boise, she's reticent as to whether the smaller agricultural producers that are already hauling their bounty out to the Capital City Public Market will have the inventory to do both a Saturday and a Sunday market.
"A lot of vendors like to do Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday because it gives them a break between harvests," says Ellis. "If it's a busy Saturday, they're not going to have stuff for Sunday left over. They're going to have to wait and let stuff come up."
Either way, Hale is amped to try out this concept and carve a new niche for creators and consumers interested in greasing up those bike gears and heading out for an afternoon of local food and crafts. Hale is also eager to tweak his business plan based on feedback he receives after the market's first few runs, with the eventual end goal of the market becoming a more regular event.
Every third Sunday, starting April 19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For information, contact 208-385-0111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.