Urban Market heads into second year

There are certain people who come into my life and inject energy, ideas and a sense of possibility.  Andrew Moyer is one of those.  I first met him during Nexus North Week when we did a deep dive into the Culture framework.

At the end of the workshop, he slipped me some random notes about different ways of creating fun activities that build community and authentic fun.  From family tug-of-war to pop-up container malls (cool concept), from beer and cheese tastings to creating snowmobile sculptures, Moyer's ideas run counter to convention and get my creative juices flowing.

Andrew's specialty is food and how you use it to connect people with a positive retail experience, and with each other.  He runs Ottavio, an Italian bakery and delicatessen in Victoria, BC and he's been doing work here in Wood Buffalo helping to get the City Centre Urban Market off the ground.  He is deeply passionate about creating urban experiences that are rooted in fun, great customer service and products that keep you coming back for more.

"Authenticity is all I want to do," he said, as we sipped our early morning coffees in one of the most authentic places around, The Chef's Table by Mitchell's.

"You have an incredible amount of things going on here," he said.  "People are doing interesting and marketable things in their basements, in the garages, wherever they can find space.  The City Centre Urban Market gives them an affordable platform to sell their culinary delights or hand-crafted creations."

The organizers of the Urban Market had their first informational session last night, getting prepared for the selling season ahead.  An experiment that was enormously successful in 2013, the market regularly attracted hundreds and hundreds of customers, and provided vendors with a positive experience.

"There is no doubt that there is a market here," he said.  "Our first year proved that in spades."

Andrew talked about the role of music and the arts in creating the right vibe for a successful urban market.  Our mutual friend, Dave Martin, was very involved in last year's events, providing a backdrop of handcrafted songs.  The opportunity for buskers is pretty clear, as a single 7-hour market day could attract 500 to 1000 shoppers.

I'll always remember the experience that Ben had at interPLAY a number of years ago.  He might have been 6 or 7 years old at the time.  Thumping on his guitar, with the case open to receive tips, he managed to earn several hundred dollars over the course of the weekend.

Andrew is a people person.  He has an innate sense of energy creation, and how to facilitate an urban market experience that is awesome for both the customers and the vendors.  He also has an amazing lady working with him named Amanda Herbert.  Between the two of them and a growing list of eager vendors, the 2014 Urban Market promises to be a huge hit.

For more information about how to get involved as a vendor or an artist, visit their website by clicking here, or email urban.market@woodbuffalo.ab.ca.


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