Art and Market Aurora helps small vendors showcase products

Art and Market Aurora helps small vendors showcase products

Art and Market Aurora returned to the city’s downtown Saturday inside the Society 57 building at 100 S. River St.

The market, which will also be open on Dec. 10 and 17, features a revolving list of 60 local vendors with about two dozen displaying goods at each session.

The Aurora Downtown group once again organized the market and according to its manager, Marissa Amoni, the market is becoming a new tradition downtown.

“We’re excited to see the market grow. The market is now becoming a spring and fall staple, and it helps support local makers including some of our own downtown businesses,” said Amoni in a press release from the group.

Saturday’s crowd included shoppers like Mike and Dawn Bakker of Naperville who said they came to check out vendors as well as support one of their employees who also had a booth at the market.

“I love craft shows and I look for different things and gifts as the holidays are coming up,” Dawn Bakker said. “I like a little bit of everything and I like the homemade, handcrafted things that people make – they’re different, right? You can’t find it in a regular store and this is where you find the unique things that people come up with themselves.”

Mike Bakker said he usually is drawn to food items at local markets.

“I don’t mind going to these things as I like having a happy wife,” he said laughing. “I don’t buy craft things or whatever but if my wife buys soaps or something of course I’ll use them.”

Natalie Bonner of Aurora was checking out some crystal jewelry at the market Saturday and said she was looking at getting a few bracelets for herself.

“Today is for me. It’s all about me today,” she said with a laugh. “I think these pop-ups give small business owners the opportunity to showcase their products and work with fellow business owners to create relationships and find more opportunities to get their products out. They put a lot of heart and soul into what they make and you can tell by the finished product.”

Bonner was drawn to Crystal Ship Jewelry, which owner Shannon Maraffa of Sugar Grove said was a name “I came up with about 10 years ago.”

“I really like the song ‘Crystal Ship’ by the Doors and it just kind of stuck and really suits the brand,” she said. “I’m not really sure how many pieces I make each year. I’d guess it’s thousands. I do markets full-time.”

Maraffa said feedback she gets from customers includes being told that her products “are their own style and I’m known for natural gemstones.”

“It’s just the quality. I take great pride in sourcing really nice, quality crystals and beads and kind of have a little following here in Aurora,” she said. “I’ve been doing this for about eight years and have been part of other markets including the local farmers market here in Aurora the past three seasons.”

Clutch Candle Company owner Helen Barton of Aurora, 20, said she has been in business for about a year making candles from carefully selected materials. She said that Saturday was her first time at an Aurora market and that the inspiration for her business actually is tied to her rather unusual pets.

“I enjoy candles but I own reptiles as pets and they are very picky about fragrances and the type of wax, so I decided to make my own candles that would be safe for them,” she said. “I did a lot of research before I started this on what type of waxes I save and what makes a fragrance oil safe. I have around 30 different fragrances. My most popular right now is an ocean’s wind candle.”

David Sharos is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.

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