Mini Flea on the Courts Recap
Last month, the city was reopening, and we wanted to be a part of it. Supporting our community, small businesses, and local artisans is part of our core values, and we were excited to transition back from virtual to in-person events safely.
For our first in-person event back, we set our sights on our newest property: Garden Court Plaza Apartments in West Philly. We discussed the idea of hosting a local artisan pop-up in the Garden Court Plaza lobby, something we had done many times before at The Touraine. But when it came to this event, we knew we wanted to go bigger.
Instead of featuring one artisan, we wanted to create an event that would uplift multiple local makers. And while technically anyone could shop our lobby pop-ups, we wanted an event that was easily accessible by the whole Garden Court neighborhood, the broader University City area, and West Philly as a whole. This is precisely what we did with our West Philly Mini Flea event on the Courts: an open-air market at the Garden Court Tennis Courts. Read on to learn just how we did it.
The Planning Process
Since Garden Court Plaza Apartments joined the Spruce Street family, we have been inspired by the rich diversity and strong sense of community in the neighborhood. Driven by these traits, we took a hyper-local approach when selecting vendors for the event, limiting the list to small businesses, artists, and local organizations located within a 15-mile radius of the Tennis courts. We also prioritized black and female makers resulting in a final vendor list that genuinely represented the diversity of the neighborhood of the event.
Along with curating our vendor list, a top priority was to ensure that the event was COVID-19 safe. We worked closely with city officials to set up precautionary measures to minimize the health risks. The open-air aspect of the event was a great start in risk prevention. It was strengthened with a mandatory mask policy, socially distanced vendors and shoppers, and sanitization stations throughout the courts. We also narrowed the market to have one entrance and exit tocheck everyone’s temperature and control crowd size.
Our vendors included both digital and traditional artists, unique creators and resellers, health food shops and historical businesses, and everyone in between.
Here is the complete list of all attending vendors, divided into helpful categories:
- Garden Court Association
- Walnut Hill Community Association
Jewelry & Accessories
Skin & Self Care
Art, Home & Culture
- JazMakes Studios
- Akhtarshenas Studios
- Maya’s Assorted Arts
- Hakim’s Bookstore
- Dumpster Fires for You
- Frances Iadarola
- Happy Dirt Pottery
The day of the West Philly Mini Flea exceeded our expectations. We enjoyed a great turnout throughout the four hours of the event as people arrived with friends, kids and dogs in tow, eager to support their neighborhood small businesses. As we spoke to vendors and guests alike it became clear that it was not only the diversity of offerings that appealed to the shoppers. They also also benefited from the variety of businesses size, years operating, and physical vs digital presence of our vendors.
For digital only shops, the flea market provided a place for customers to connect with both the products and store owners in real life. In contrast, the market brought new customers to brick and mortar establishments who have suffered from a decrease in foot traffic as a result of the pandemic. Attendees also appreciated the opportunity to finally try Philly-famous brands while buying one of the first pieces of a talented budding local artist – all in the same place.
Throughout the event, our little market was lucky enough to enjoy both beautiful weather and 100% compliance with all COVID policies. As the talented music from live DJ Rebel Foster filled the court, we felt a sense of community that was unique to the Garden Court area – one that we were immensely proud to be part of.
We hope you enjoyed learning more about our Mini Flea on the Courts! Be sure to support our talented and skilled vendors at the links above, or visit our Mini Flea story highlight on Instagram to find their handles and support their work on social. If you are a vendor who is interested in being part of a future event, please DM us on Instagram so we can send you an interest form.