Front Street Flea
Whether you’re on the hunt for locally crafted jewelry or artisanal soaps and lotions, Front Street Flea, hosted by Front Street Cafe, 1253 N. Front St., offers a wide array of items produced by makers and entrepreneurs in the River Wards.
Great original article by Amanda Staller/Star Newspaper is here.
The first of a regularly scheduled monthly event took place on Sunday, Jan. 31, pulling in dozens of locals in search of hidden gems.
“This is just a beautiful offering to give the community and the artists of the community a place to show their gorgeousness,” said Nicole Barclay, owner of Front Street Cafe.
With Barclay’s love of the arts and Front Street Cafe’s vibrant second floor space, the owner decided the Front Street Flea would be a perfect event for not just vendors, but the surrounding community to be exposed to artists and businesses they may have not yet encountered.
“I’m an artist myself,” Barclay said. “I just enjoy creating and painting and making all kinds of stuff. We had this extra second floor space so we figured we would offer people in the community a space to offer their things too.”
Barclay recently began reaching out to vendors and word kept spreading. The idea of Front Street Flea began to spread among many artisans in the River Wards; the event is already booked with vendors for the next six months.
Front Street Flea is set to take place the fourth Sunday of every month at Front Street Cafe from 4 to 8 p.m.
The big vision for Barclay is to move the event outside, where vendors and patrons could take to the cafe’s outdoor garden and bar.
“I’m hoping that when it warms up, we can double the size of what it is right now and really support the community in that way,” Barclay said.
The first Front Street Flea drew in dozens of neighbors, with vendors lining the walls of Front Street Cafe. The Tin Goat, a Fishtown-based company producing all natural soaps and oils, was one of the many businesses that came out to show their products and support the community.
“This is fantastic, actually,” said J.R. Raudabaugh, co-owner of The Tin Goat. “We’ll be back here again next month. This is an awesome space.
With The Tin Goat up-and-running for just a little over a year now, Raudabaugh is selling his product in seven shops in the city. Many of the products produced are made with goat milk, including candles, lotion bars and lip balm.
Aside from bath and beauty products, many vendors displayed handcrafted jewelry. Monk E. Burnswell, 49, gave neighbors a glimpse at the novel jewelry his business HM Pyrotechnics is producing.
“We build effigies in the summertime,” Burnswell said. “In the wintertime, we play with fire another way.”
Instead of full-blown sculptures, Burnswell sold items a little more portable for those looking for their next buy.
“This is custom bling. It’s jewelry,” Burnswell said. “I’m selling hand-torched stainless steel medallions.”
If you’re looking for something even more off the beaten path than goat milk soaps and hand-torched medallions, Hedy Sirico, 46, gave customers a look at her take on terrariums.
“I design terra-scapes,” Sirico said. “It’s not quite a terrarium because it’s not enclosed so I call them terra-scapes. I like to put architectural elements inside of them like bones and little animal skulls. It’s just something different.”
Neighbors young and old came to browse the interesting array of items, picking up hand-made trinkets as they made their way around the room. Fishtown resident Liz Palmer, 33, picked up a few items for herself and discovered local businesses that she had not been aware of until visiting Front Street Flea.
“It’s nice to meet people from the businesses around the neighborhood,” Palmer said. “I wasn’t even aware that some of these places were around here, but this has defiantly encouraged me to try to shop more locally.”
With a huge amount of positive feedback for the first Front Street Flea, Barclay hopes that the event continues to grow and that the community and local artists continue to benefit.
“People have been loving it. Even all the vendors are just so grateful to be here,” Barclay said. “There’s so much love going on right now in this space and it feels really good.”