Last weekend I was at the grand opening of The Rust Belt Market in Ferndale, MI, and I was blown away! The concept is a year-round weekend market, that features handmade and vintage items made by local creators. Housed in a former Old Navy store, owners Chris & Tiffany Best had their work cut out for them transforming the old store into a vibrant, artistic space. Some sellers are there every weekend, some only a day here and there. This fresh line-up of vendors allows for new and interesting goods to browse. And have I mentioned the look of this place? It is beyond fabulous, a total eyegasm of the senses. The booths of around 60 vendors are set up so creatively, utilizing every inch of their space, from wall to ceiling, with colorful and appealing displays that draw you in.
In addition to the vendor spaces, there are stunning artistic features all over the place. The center of the building features a handmade wooden stage that features occasional live music, and cozy couch-side seating to sit and enjoy the show. And there’s plenty of room in front for the little ones to shake a hip with each other. There are also hand painted murals and art hanging on the walls, and some very unique lighting sculptures dangling above the stage.
Not only is this space visually appealing and packed with talented artisans, but the idea behind the space is even larger. Here we have a break from the mall and the Hallmark stores, where independent artists are working together and sharing experiences, in a year round venue to build something better than corporate. I’m really interested to see how it all goes, and to see what kind of other forward thinking ideas can come from this type of thing.
If you’re up for something new, and are in the area, skip the mall and head here instead. You don’t have to wait to see when the next craft fair is coming up to get your hands on in person handmade goods, as this place is always there for you.