Smiles galore. That’s what can be expected when you enter the Local Store during the Night Market. Immediately upon entrance, attendees are greeted by employees with information regarding what they can expect inside.
While customers browse through the discounted, locally-made merchandise, they’re able to munch on some samples and food sold from a food truck, or sip on cider and coffee samples. As they make their way through the store to the gallery, makers welcome them at their tables, excited to explain their products.
It doesn’t end there — the event continues outside, where a crackling bonfire awaits and acoustic music plays while guests sit and converse.
Volume One’s Night Market, which takes place at The Local Store and Volume One Gallery, kicked off its third year this past Friday, Sept. 22.
For Addy Serum, a business administration student and senior at UW-Eau Claire, Friday was her first time attending the event. She said she enjoyed the “environment and the people” and the discount on merchandise and pizza didn’t hurt either.
While many things regarding the Night Market setup are similar to past years, Lindsey Quinnies, program manager at The Local Store, said they like to feature new makers and products, food trucks, and musicians every year.
“We try to keep it fresh.” Quinnies said.
The Night Market itself, in the opinion of many who both attend and organize the event, is an experience unique to Eau Claire.
“I don’t think there’s anything else quite like it … It kind of pulls together a lot of different aspects that might not always be in one place. There’s the music, the meet-the-maker thing, there’s the sale, we bring in local orchards and pumpkin patches,” Quinnies said. “Just kind of bringing in all of those elements together in one cohesive space — I think that makes it a little bit different than anything else.”
The featured makers are people whose products are for sale at The Local Store regularly, but, for the purposes of this event, are able to bring in and sell things they don’t normally sell in the store. The event allows for makers to meet their customers and vice versa, but also showcases items The Local Store doesn’t have space to sell all of the time.
For maker Nick Endle, owner and creator for Nick’s Wood Shop, this wasn’t his first experience with the Night Market. At his booth you can find various home goods, kitchen goods and home decor that are all made with Wisconsin lumber. Endle shared the story of how his craft came to be while also describing his product.
“I come from a long line of craftspeople,” Endle said. “It’s just kind of been in my blood.”
Jenna Krosch, maker and owner of Lakeside Daydreams, made her debut at the Night Market this year.
Her products, which range from vintage maps with hand-lettered quotes to homemade Wisconsin-themed prints, revolve around a “vintage wanderlust-inspired theme.”
“It’s really fun to meet the customers and hear their stories. Oftentimes if they buy a map it has a meaning behind it,” Krosch said.
She was one of those in attendance who found the event unique and meaningful to the Eau Claire community.
“People actually get to meet the maker and engage with them and kind of put a face to the product. It’s all about supporting small or shopping small,” Krosch said. “I think it means even more when you can meet the maker and meet the person you’re supporting.”
Micah Ryan, an Eau Claire graduate, performed music during the evening. With just him and his guitar on the stage, he played acoustic covers, like “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” and “Take me to Church,” mixed in with some of his own original songs.
Ryan said he enjoys being a part of the event and The Local Store in general because it allows for “connections to be made that you didn’t have before.”
Make sure to stop by the event, which takes place every Friday until Oct. 20. You can find the full schedule and other information on the market’s Facebook page.