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Open air market coming to The NODE beginning in July

NILES – A new open-air market experience is coming to downtown Niles beginning in July.

According to organizer Kristin Bivens, the Niles Homegrown Market will be hosted at The NODE, located at the corner of W. Main and S. Second streets. The market will be hosted 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, and 5 to 8:30 p.m. on the first Wednesdays of the month, beginning July 7 through the second Sunday in October.

Bivens hopes the market will shine a light on local vendors and downtown businesses.

“Being that you can drink from licensed businesses [at The NODE], we’re hoping to have a Bloody Mary bar on Sundays through The Brass Eye, and then Wednesday nights will be more of a party-type vibe. We’ll have vinyl [records] playing and working on some fun things,” Bivens said. “It should be an experience. I want downtown businesses to benefit from it.”

The Wednesday evening markets bear the branding “After Dark” to set the atmosphere.

The different times and dates are planned to attract a diverse array of shoppers and vendors.

Currently, the markets have vendors registered with offerings including dog treats, jewelry, home décor, beauty products, flowers and succulents, and candles. The Niles Homegrown Market is actively seeking vendors to participate.

Bivens, herself a small business owner of Wicked Pop Candles, is bringing her experience as a vendor at markets to her organizational approach. The NODE’s event committee wanted someone with her perspective to help ensure the vendors and attendees had a successful event.

“I usually have to go outside of Niles to do most of my shows,” Bivens said. “It’s nice to have this here. I don’t plan to [bring my products to] all of them since I will be organizing, but it is nice to have something in Niles as opposed to having to travel to South Bend or St. Joseph.”

During the height of the pandemic, when many markets and events were still restricted or canceled, Bivens said The Grand LV’s “Small Shops” were events that provided a market shopping experience to the Niles community. The unique event offering during a time when many others were restricted showed Bivens the importance of markets for small business owners.

The Niles Homegrown Market is not the first time a market has been hosted in downtown Niles. In previous years, a summer market has been hosted in the alleyway on Second Street, but Bivens said the previous market was not very visible to the community.

With The NODE as its new venue, Bivens is excited about using the space with a variety of businesses.

“We have a good range of things,” Bivens said. “A lot of them won’t be there all season, but they’ll pop in to add variety so it is not the same week after week.”

More information about the Niles Homegrown Market can be found at UncoverNiles.com or on Facebook @NilesHomegrown. Vendor applications are still being accepted and can be found at tinyurl.com/nileshomegrown.

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