CHESTER, Vt. – The occasional light breeze brought minimal relief mid-morning on July 24, another hot day in Chester, Vt. The heat may have been what kept some of the regular vendors away, but “PopUP Sunday,” hosted by Sharon Baker, owner of Sharon’s on the Common, was up and running. The weekly event runs from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. each Sunday and boasts “unique vendors every week.”
There were three distinct artisans who’d set up under tents in the newly created space behind the Chester Annex, next to Baker’s shop. A young artist and baker, Cora Mae Churchill, of Cakes by Cora, displayed her fun, handmade jewelry designs. KitKat’s Embroidery showcased designs by Kathleen Barnett on children’s clothing and tote bags. And Nate Brown of North Wind Farms in Bellows Falls was selling fresh garlic, gorgeous beets and greens, the farm’s own processed chickens, and bottles of homemade habanero hot sauce. The number of booths has averaged between three and eight over this summer.
Sharon’s on the Common is a popular, eclectic clothing and gift boutique that has been in its current Chester location for 12 years. Baker admits she always had the dream of owning this type of shop, and loves doing what she does. Baker has also consistently held a passion to help emerging artists and entrepreneurs establish and thrive in their own ventures.
Last year, Baker converted what once was a singular store into The Chester Annex, which can host up to four separate businesses. Her continuing efforts to diversify and expand the retail community in Chester have been especially important during the pandemic, for the vendors as well as their clientele. Splitting up the space allowed for craftspeople to incur less overhead costs and increase their potential customer base. And, maybe most importantly, to become part of a larger, collaborative, local artistic community.
That creative, cooperative energy was evident while talking with the sellers participating in the market. Baker first started PopUP Sundays over a year ago, welcoming any makers with products grown, created, or constructed in Vermont. Unlike other markets, Baker doesn’t charge a booth fee, and she is always interested in meeting with new vendors. Local craftspeople looking to join a friendly, supportive community can contact Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PopUP Sundays will continue to run every Sunday through Oct. 9, 2022.