How Vendor Marketplaces Have Become a ‘Thing’ in the Pines

You know that the days of strapping on an oxygen mask for the quest of finding your newest Abercrombie & Fitch baby tee are long gone. In its place? Digging out your reusable shopping bags and hitting whatever outdoor vendor marketplace is happening around town.

From Pop Up in the Pines to the Marketplace at Sunrise Square, local vendor marketplaces have been filling slots on our calendar almost every weekend for the past year. Although some were in motion before that little ole global pandemic struck, the pop-ups became a saving grace for some of our local vendors and makers once restrictions were put into place.

We talked to the brains behind these shop-til-ya-drop affairs, and there was a common theme we can all get behind: let’s support our people and bring opportunities home. 

The Marketplace at Sunrise Square

When the pandemic shuttered the doors of The Sunrise Theater, executive director MaryBeth Poplyk had an empty theater and with the absence of First Friday, she had an empty lawn, too. When local shops and vendors reached out and requested she rent the lawn for pop-up markets, the Sunrise went for it. The first Marketplace at Sunrise Square was held in August 2020. Those marketplaces have continued, popping up on Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

 “Sometimes it’s 25 vendors and sometimes it’s 12,” MaryBeth says. “We still want to support them.”

Pop Up in the Pines

Marie & Marcele co-owner Crystal Eads-Brown began planning the inaugural Pop Up in the Pines pre-pandemic. After having attended pop ups in Charlotte and Raleigh to reach a bigger customer base, she thought to herself, ‘Why can’t we have it here?’

With a community over competition mindset, she has brought Pop Up in the Pines to fruition with the help of Southern Pines Brewing Company. The first Pop Up in the Pines was held in November 2020, followed by another in May 2021. She’s currently gearing up for a Mini Market Series at Hatchet Brewing in September, October, November and December of this year with the goal of capitalizing on the downtown foot traffic on Sundays.

The Market Collective

The Market Collective co-founders, Colleen Schreiber and Sam Peterson, are both transplants who were used to big city tings. Both being small biz owners and military spouses, they’ve talked for months about creating more local opportunities for small biz in the area. According to the TMC duo, they kept running into fellow local vendors at shows an hour away and thought there’s got to be a better way to create trendy, family-friendly events close to home.

TMC debuted their first event, “The Night Market at Soirée” last month in Aberdeen, and are looking forward to bringing it back the third Thursday each month (hey, that’s this week) along with more events your way. P.S. That $5 drink fee? It all goes back to the Shannon Kent Scholarship of the Special Forces Shield Maidens.

The Crossroads

After closing her West End thrift shop, Bougie Redneck, Charity Blanchard renamed the site at 1093 Doubs Chapel Road as The Crossroads — a place to host vendor gatherings at what she’s called the “Miscellany Marketplace.” The first event, in August, drew crowds with shopping urges fueled by the House of Odell and Luella food truck. “It was exciting to see familiar faces and meet so many new ones,” Charity said. The next event is planned for September.

Hey Siri, Add These Vendor Marketplaces to My Calendar

  • Thursday, 5-8 p.m.: Stroll through booths from more than 30 vendors during Night Market at Soirée. There’ll be food trucks, live music, beer and wine and a $5 cover if you’re drankin’. Bottoms Up.
  • Saturday, Sept. 4: 
    • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Miscellany Marketplace returns to the Crossroads. BYOB (bag).
    • 5-8 p.m.: The Market Collective is bringing 20+ vendors, food trucks and more to James Creek Cider House during the Market at James Creek. Cheers to that.
  • Sept. 12, Oct. 10, Nov. 14 and Dec. 12: Sip and shop your way through Hatchet Brewing Co. during Pop Up in the Pines’ Mini Markets at Hatchet Series. Sing the brews. 
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