Stay Apparel Co.

An authentic American brand of place

The making of a makers market: Cocoa Beanery near Hershey

Community, AppearancesNeal GouletComment
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My wife, Sara, used to make biscotti under the brand name Putch & Buckie’s (coming to a retro tee in 2019!). One of the retail outlets she sold to was Cocoa Beanery, a coffee shop and cafe near Hershey. Donna Fair has managed Cocoa Beanery since it opened in 2008.

In January, as I sought opportunities for Stay Apparel Co. with area pop-up markets, I also reached out to Donna. Cocoa Beanery, under a series of big tents, hosts a Thursday farmers market from spring until fall.

I wondered whether Donna would be interested in launching a makers market. As the name suggests, these are vendors who create something, from tees and knitwear to candles and pottery to jewelry and soaps.

Donna graciously discussed the concept in general terms but made no commitment. By June, however, with a little more space on her calendar, she invited me to discuss the idea with her in greater detail.

While Donna offered a great venue, I could reach out to some of the kind, talented entrepreneurs from throughout central Pennsylvania that I had met while participating in the Harrisburg Flea, York Flea, Creatively Lancaster and Market on Chocolate (downtown Hershey) pop-up markets.

We launched with seven vendors on July 27, piggy-backing on Cocoa Beanery’s “Live on the Lawn” series that features live music, grill food and craft beer. Our makers market, at 1215 Research Blvd., Hummelstown, runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on the fourth Friday of the month. Admission is free.

“Makers’ markets are increasingly popular shopping destinations for consumers who want a deeper connection with the goods they buy and the people who make them,” Donna said in a news release. “You can think of these makers as doing for retail shopping what craft brewers have done to revitalize the beer industry.”

For the first show, Stay was joined by Adrienne's Herbals, Bianca Zidik, Burlap & Bows, Boom! Crafted Pickles, Jennie Bowman Designs and Moonrise Candle Co.

We grew to nine vendors for the Aug. 24 show. We expect to have 16 vendors for the third show, Sept. 28, and 17 for the final show of 2018, on Oct. 26.

But that might not be the final show. Donna and I have discussed holding a holiday makers market in early December. (Vendors interested in participating: please contact me at hello@stayapparel.com).

Donna suggested an appearance by Santa Claus. If we pull it off, I might have to ask Sara about baking biscotti for the occasion.