Local artisans find footing via East End Bazaar
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Saturday mornings have become routine for Tracey Diuguid. She walks her dogs around the East End and then heads to the East End Bazaar, an artisan market on the corner of Washington Street and Ruffner Avenue.
There, she enjoys live music, games and lunch with friends and family before heading off to work.
"The Bazaar is awesome," Diuguid said. "I've lived here going on 10 years now and I've seen so much improvement, and this is just one more thing that adds spice to the neighborhood, and I'm hoping it gets bigger and bigger."
The Bazaar is now in its first full season and is attracting more vendors and visitors since it opened last fall. The open-air market features handmade crafts, live music and food vendors, and serves as a launching pad for local businesses.
Ric Cavender of East End Main Street, a nonprofit that works to revitalize the neighborhood, said it's been a long road since they began their efforts in 2002.
"What our district looked like in 2002 compared to now is night and day," he said. "Nobody would have imagined people wanting to come down to the East End to shop or eat. Now, we're drawing people in from all parts of the county and outside the county."
Local jeweler Adrienne Galloway isn't sure where she would be without the Bazaar.
"The only other place to sell and get your name out there is a flea market," Galloway said, "and nobody at a flea market is there to spend money on custom-made jewelry."
Upon approaching Galloway's booth, visitors are greeted with a sea of colorful jewelry. Galloway makes octopus characters using clay to form a head and tentacles, before meticulously adding suction cups, pearl eyes and character accessories.
Each octopus has a name and story, Galloway said. Recently, she made a custom Western octopus, outfitted with a Colt .45, holster, ammunition belt and cowboy hat.
"The Bazaar is the only place, in my opinion, around here that you can go as an artist with your handmade things, set up easily and have this great place to sell everything," she said. "There's nothing like that anywhere else around here."
When the Bazaar started, Ned Savage, one of the organizers, said it was a little difficult finding vendors to participate. Last year, the Bazaar ended with about 30 vendors. Now, they have about 70 -- and counting.
"That's one of the reasons this market came into existence," Savage said. "This neighborhood, this area is so full of creative people who have great ideas, great products and just insanely talented people, and we wanted to create a space for that."
At Galloway's first Bazaar appearance, she sold $200 worth of items, exceeding her expectations. Her least expensive item is $5 and her most expensive is $45.
Since then, her business has only expanded. Her work is now featured in Art Emporium and Gallery Eleven in downtown Charleston and she will participate in the next Downtown Charleston Art Walk.
She even had an international custom order, for two necklaces from a Canadian customer.
"Because of the Bazaar," Galloway said, "I've made a lot of sales and made a lot of repeat customers."
She said the Bazaar provides a place and home for local artisans so they don't have to have a traditional storefront to be successful.
"That's upfront-overhead costs that you don't need," Galloway said, "when you have the Bazaar and other arts and craft shows."
Savage and Cavender want to build on the Bazaar's success by encouraging local entrepreneurs. They said they hope people begin to see it as a destination.
"It's not open on Sundays, I'm hoping as it grows they'll keep it open longer on Saturdays and open on Sundays," Diuguid said. "I think everyone can benefit from it. Kids, all the way up to old people like me, are enjoying it."
The East End Bazaar is open every Saturday from April through October, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Reach Caitlin Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5113.