At 3:48 p.m. the parking lot of White River Plaza was fairly empty except for a few pop-up tents. Venders bustled about, working to set up their stands in time for the evening festivities at the Muncie Makers Market to begin on Saturday, Sept. 1.
By 4:06 p.m., people started to flock the vendor lots. A little girl, who attended the market, headed straight for a blue tent full of doll’s clothes, while an older woman worked her way to a bread stand under a black tent.
“Everything you see here was made within the last 24 hours,” said Shane Heath, the owner of The Bearded Baker, to the woman.
It’s Heath’s second year at the Muncie Makers Market, but it’s his sixth year working as a farmers’ market vendor.
“I go to multiple markets a week,” Heath said. “Wednesday and Thursday are prep days to prepare the sourdough and cookies. Then, Friday I spend all day baking.”
Like Heath, more than 150 other vendors form the Muncie Makers Market which runs from 4 to 7 p.m. every Saturday in downtown Muncie according to Moth Danner, the state appointed “Market Master” of the market.
Danner also said that the market annually opens for the season on the first Saturday of May and runs through the last Saturday of October.
During the six months, the market helps small or upcoming businesses get a foothold in the community until they establish some notoriety.
JJ Muellenberg is one vendor who has utilized this opportunity to publicize the many business ventures he’s had including his most recent, Linkage Beard Company, which creates oils for facial hair.
“A lot of it is just advertising at first,” Muellenberg said. “Before I get my own place, I wanted to get my name out there.”
Along with helping new businesses get started, the market also tries to bring better food options to locals.
“It’s our goal to help with the food deserts. People don’t have access to high quality, local food,” said Danner.
One vendor helping provide the Muncie community with good food is Danner’s mother, Susan Danner.
Susan joined the Markers Market for fun in 2016, the first year of operation. Originally, Susan started at the market in Hartford City, before making the move to Muncie to be closer to home. After taking personal orders from her friends, Susan gained the nickname The Pie Lady and now shares her talents with a broader audience.
“I haven’t always marketed it,” Susan said. “If someone wanted a pie I made, I’d make it for them.”
Although many of the vendors are business owners, Moth said that anyone is welcome just like her mother. She also said she encourages student participation from those who have created anything from jewelry to baked goods.
“There is so much creativity in this community,” Moth said.