Monday, November 21, 2011

guest blog: flower avenue holiday market opens this weekend

Thanksgiving may mark the start of the holiday season, but it doesn't mean the end of shopping outside. Amanda Kolson Hurley, friend of JUTP/Silver Spring resident/freelance writer who's responsible for my appearance in a professional magazine, sends us this guest blog about the Flower Avenue Holiday Market, making its d├ębut this weekend.

Market founders Christopher Lancette (right) and Won-ok Kim.

A few weeks ago, the Fenton Street Market's long struggle with county bureaucracy seemed to resolve in a happy ending, with the market - which closed out its season on Nov. 12 - likely to return to Veterans Plaza next spring. Now a wintertime antique and flea market opening this weekend in Long Branch will help bridge the gap until FSM's return (fingers crossed).

The Flower Avenue Holiday Market will run on Saturdays from Nov. 26 through Dec. 24 at the corner of Flower Avenue and Arliss Street, one a block from Piney Branch Road. Open from 9 am to 4 pm, it will sell used furniture, antiques, art, vintage toys, local crafts, and more, says Christopher Lancette, a Silver Spring resident who's organizing the new market with his girlfriend and business partner, Won-ok Kim.

Lancette and Kim run Orion's Attic, a home-based antiques business they grew by staging "upscale yard sales" and selling through their website and on Craigslist and Ebay. They weren't ready for a full retail store, but a seasonal market - one that could build on and complement Fenton Street's success - seemed ideal.

Reemberto Rodriguez of the Silver Spring Regional Center steered them to the one-acre parking lot on busy Flower Avenue, and the lot's owner, Greg Fernebok of The Harvey Companies, was so taken with the idea that he offered to donate the lot rental fee to a nonprofit group, IMPACT Silver Spring. IMPACT will also have a role in the market itself - Lancette emphasizes that doing social good and nurturing local micro-businesses are central to the mission. Longer term, Lancette and Kim hope that their venture, in tandem with Fenton Street, Freshfarm, and other local markets, can make Silver Spring a regional "market destination," an idea he's discussed with State Senator Jamie Raskin.

Nine or 10 vendors in addition to Orion's Attic have already signed up, Lancette says, and he and Kim are looking for more. See the Orion's Attic website for the application form and more details, and stop by the market's opening day this Saturday, November 26 from 9am to 4pm.

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