Despite light drizzle throughout the day, hundreds of local residents and visitors to Ann Arbor visited Kerrytown for the second annual Flower Day. Sponsored by the Sunday Artisan Market and the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, the event featured a variety of flower selections and artisan wares for sale as well as food trucks, kids arts and crafts and face painting.
The Sunday Artisan Market is a weekly arts and crafts market open April through December. The artisans at the market make all the products they sell, according to the Manager of the Sunday Artisan Market, Deb Dursi.
Flower Day is the only day of the year where the Artisan Market combines with the Farmers Market. This collaboration attracts customers who may not usually frequent the Artisans Market, explained Shanita Richards, owner of Motor City Spreads, a gourmet jam and jelly business.
“These vendors sell beautiful things, but you wouldn’t know it unless they had a market to go to,” Richards said. “It’s nice because you get all the people that normally buy flowers, they get to come and see what the Sunday Market has to offer. It’s one of those treasures that people don’t often realize is here.”
Ann Arbor resident Samantha Daly said she likes coming to the Artisans Market with her family.
“We enjoy coming down and walking around,” Daly said. “There’s a variety of different vendors and there’s always things for the kids too.”
Rackham student Linda Gong said her brother and his girlfriend were visiting Ann Arbor, so she brought them to the Artisans Market as part of showing them around the city.
“I like how it is a great collection of local vendors with a variety of goods,” Gong said. “The flowers are really pretty. Even though it’s raining, it’s been really nice.”
Lynn Mullin, a visitor to Ann Arbor from Pennsylvania, said she noticed the Artisans Market is a community.
“Even as I was walking through, I saw people who were greeting each other, vendors who knew their clients,” Mullin said. “I feel like it shows how artistic the community is; how ecologically-minded the community is.”
Dursi explained the Artisan Market was founded in 1991 by artisans who had trouble getting spaces at the Farmers Market. Since 2006, the Artisans Market has been separate from the city of Ann Arbor. Self-governed and self-run, the member artisans elect their own board and hire their own manager.
“It’s a good group of people, very much a team,” Dursi said. “They look out for each other. It’s very unique in that it’s like a family.”
Several vendors echoed Dursi’s sentiments, including Diane Sheffrey, owner of Baubles, a glass and fiber art business.
“The Artisans Market is a nice, comfortable venue,” Sheffrey said. “It’s one of my favorite places to sell because the vendors become like family.”
Richards explained she is new to the area and decided to become a vendor at the Artisans Market to have a “family” in the same spot every week. According to Daren Otis — president of the Artisans Market and owner of Lightweight Travel Totes, a totes and purses business — the Market’s affordable artisan fee attracts both longtime and amateur vendors.
“For a new person … we’re a place where they can get started and learn the ropes and learn from other vendors,” Otis said. “We help each other.”
Otis has been selling at the Artisans Market almost since it began. Compared to art shows, Otis explained the Artisans Market helps her build stronger relationships with her customers.
“I like the fact that I can develop a customer base because I’m here every week,” Otis said. “People who like my product come back, and they bring their friends. … It’s really gratifying.”
Dursi expressed she was pleased with Flower Day’s turnout, both from vendors and the local community.
“The crowd is really strong today, and that, to me, is really indicative of a positive community response,” Dursi said. “We have more vendors this year than last year for Flower Day, which tells me they did well enough last year to come back and give it another go.”
Sheffrey said the Artisans Market is a significant downtown attraction.
“It brings a lot of people downtown,” she said. “There’s a vibrancy to it.”