Coined 2012’s greatest success story by Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs, the Trail Market on the Esplanade is back by popular demand.
It all begins this Friday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will continue every second Friday in downtown Trail until Oct. 11.
The first market of this year has attracted over 40 vendors, selling an array of goods and services, according to Norm Casler, Trail and District Chamber of Commerce executive director.
An increase in vendors means the market will now expand from Spokane Street well into Jubilee Park.
“We’re going to block off every street in Trail if we have to,” said Trail councillor Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson.
“The variety is amazing,” Casler added. “We’ve got everything from old world, hand-made pottery, farm fresh produce, organic produce, gourmet sauces and preserves, flower baskets, painted glass, dog treats, jewellery, belts, books, health and weight loss services, bees wax candles – I could go on.”
The city and the chamber partnered last year to deliver the market for the first time along the Esplanade, after a plan from the Downtown Opportunities and Action Committee recommended an ongoing event to bring more foot traffic into the downtown.
A push to celebrate Trail’s core was met with over 6,000 visitors and 125 different vendors last summer. The success story continued into the Trail Memorial Centre’s gymnasium over the winter, where a maximum capacity of vendors was reached and a steady stream of customers passed through the doors.
“We had comments last year that it’s hard to find a parking space, well if we had that problem every day, I’d be doing a jig,” said Gattafoni Robinson.
“People were noticing business storefronts they didn’t even know existed just from walking in the downtown core.”
The market is also perfect breeding grounds for a small business interested in gauging whether there is buyer interest, according to Dan McIlmoyle of Kootenay Spice.
McIlmoyle and his wife Shannon took their passion for cooking and experimenting with spices last winter out of their own kitchen when they signed up for the winter market.
“It’s been our local exposure, completely,” he said. “It’s helped us get into Kate’s Kitchen for the use of their industrial kitchen, with the contacts we made there, and helped us get into the Biggest Little Fruit Stand in Castlegar. It really created the company.”
Kootenay Spice offers a variety of products from Cajun seasoning, herbs de Provence, Kootenay jerk and smoked rock salt, all which have been tested and perfected by the husband and wife team.
“We’ve been cooking and making our own recipes for years and our friends liked them so when the Trail Market started we thought it would be a great place to start,” said McIlmoyle.
The local company not only sells prepared seasonings but offers regular recipes to follow online at kootenayspice.com and through Facebook.
“We figured it kind of goes hand-in-hand,” he added. “If you buy some spices it would be nice to know what to do with them.”
The return of the market has been a long-time coming, according to Gattafoni Robinson, who remembers when her mother used to buy her produce from a market held inside the Trail Memorial Centre’s curling rink.
If not for the shopping, residents are known to flock to the summer market to take in the “million dollar view” of the Columbia River or to catch up with old friends, she said.
The atmosphere is lively with delicious sights, complemented with sounds of musicians busking and neighbours socializing.
Those interested in getting a table at an upcoming market can for $20 a regular spot or $25 for a powered spot. Vendors also get one free event if they sign up for all 10 markets and chamber members receive a 10 per cent discount off their bill.
All bookings and enquiries go through the chamber, which can be reached at 368-3144.