Also, Found & Shared Workshop for Entrepreneurs scheduled at Indiana Welcome Center April 23
by Carrie Steinweg
LANSING, Ill. (March 2018) – Pam Dennis of Lansing has always had a flair for decorating, a knack for finding that perfect artisan made item, an eye for spotting trends, and an entrepreneurial mind. For seven years, she owned a shop in Homewood called Bella Vita Home Accents where she used those talents and featured local and regional artisan made products.
Over the years, she built up a list of vendors who were small business owners and independent artists. “I enjoyed supporting small businesses, and it was a great way to introduce one-of-a-kind items to our guests,” she said. “I also had numerous events in the shop featuring artists, always providing local foods and live music.”
If someone has never been to a Fetching Market, Dennis wants them to know that “it’s more than a market; it’s an experience.” Unlike craft fairs or flea markets, Fetching Market is an elevated experience that combines shopping for unique, hand-made, up-cycled, and vintage items with gourmet food, educational opportunities, and live music—all in one place.
“Many of our vendors create one-of-a-kind wares for a living. We also have vintage purveyors that bring in unique finds from all over the country,” Dennis explained. “Our vendors bring barn finds, silver, collectibles, vintage jewelry, vintage clothing, boutique clothing, barn wood, vintage signs, handcrafted jewelry, soaps, lotions, and more. We offer hands-on creative opportunities on Saturday markets at the hangar.”
The Vintage Venue
When considering a venue that would extend the vintage vibe, Dennis had to look no further than her own community. The Ford Hangar, located at the Lansing Municipal Airport, was built in 1927 in the early days of aviation with an innovative cantilevered construction design by renowned architect Albert Kahn. In 1985 it received designation on the National Register of Historic Places.
“The Historic Ford Hangar is intriguing and lends a vintage atmosphere that works perfectly for what we do. We host markets in other towns, but returning to the hangar is like home to us,” said Dennis. “We consider it our signature market, as this is where we began.”
Dennis chose to host a market in Lansing because she really wanted to bring something unique to her community. The market was so successful that it became a twice yearly event. Fetching Market is now held at the Ford Hangar in spring and in fall. “If it was conducive to hot summer and cold winter weather, we would love to hold all of our markets there,” said Dennis.
Fetching Market has grown to offer markets in other communities. A February market was held in Hammond at the Indiana Welcome Center, and a holiday market will take place November 16 and 17 at Lincolnshire Country Club in Crete. Fetching Market has also been officially endorsed by the Illinois Bicentennial being celebrated this year.
Connecting Creative Minds
In launching Fetching Market, an added benefit was that Dennis connected so many of these artisans and creators, providing a networking community for those who want to share their passions with others. In that spirit of encouraging others to embrace their talents and pursue their dreams, she also began hosting her Found & Shared Workshops for Entrepreneurs. This year two workshops are scheduled, both at the Indiana Welcome Center. Workshop dates are April 23 and September 24, 9:00am–1:00pm.
“We have put together these workshops to help encourage women with a dream of owning their own business or business women looking to cultivate goodness in an established business,” said Dennis. “Fetching Market and various sponsors provide speakers, gourmet foods, creative opportunities, and networking. Everyone leaves with a tote bag of goodies.”
Serving the community
Dennis said that the biggest goal in starting the market was to bring something different to her community and create a destination to draw people in. “Why not spend your life doing things you love?” she asked. “So, I put my desire for event planning and the passion for small business, art, and vintage collections to create something that I know the community would enjoy. It’s very gratifying to complete an event and know that everyone enjoyed it.”
She’s gotten tremendous feedback from customers and vendors alike, who return for market after market. “We have grown by leaps and bounds over the last four years,” said Dennis. “We have over 400 vendors who have joined us at our markets from across the Midwest and have come as far as Arizona to join us. We reach over 20,000 folks from all over with our marketing and connections. Typically, we have guests come from surrounding communities as well as an 80-mile radius of Lansing. Some have never heard of Lansing before. They eat at our restaurants and stay in our hotels. Our vendors pay sales tax that benefits the Village of Lansing. I receive emails and messages all the time commenting on the quality of the market and how glad they are that we provide this opportunity to so many.”
Next Fetching Market
Friday, May 18, 5:00–9:00pm, and Saturday, May 19, 10:00am–5:00pm, at the Historic Ford Hangar at Lansing Municipal Airport, 3239 Glenwood-Lansing Road in Lansing. The Market will feature beverages and pastries from Troost, and food, brews, and cocktails from the Cottage on Dixie. Entertainment will be provided by 2 Bukk Chukk on Friday; Alan Broomhead, Brian Mundee, and Metropolly on Saturday.