GILBERT – Nine months since closing down because of COVID-19, the Made With Love Market is back and bringing some much-needed exposure to small businesses in metro Phoenix.
Made With Love Market came to be three years ago with the help of Maribeth Suvlette and her business partner, Cody, along with their shared love for supporting local small businesses. The market’s mission is to provide “a space for makers to come together, sell their gorgeous goods, connect with the people who come out to shop, and show the world what the small shop community is all about,” according to its website.
Like many businesses and events, Made With Love faced difficult decisions, but the owners ultimately put their events on hold until recently.
“At the time in February, we felt like it was the right thing to do,” Suvlette said. “Not knowing what this was, not knowing the effects on children, on the community as a whole, so we made a very early decision to postpone our events.”
The outdoor market is in SanTan Village in Gilbert, where Suvlette hopes to stage a comeback.
“There is so much room and we felt that we could safely host this event and give our vendors a chance to showcase their products and sell and give the community a space that is fun and free and enjoyable to come out to,” she said.
Amanda Archinuk of Kozy Knit Designs, who sells through the market, found some alternative ways of continuing to work and grow her business in the absence of in-person shopping.
“I have a website, I’m on Etsy, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest,” Archinuk said. “It (the closure of nonessential business) did take a lot of opportunities away during the pandemic, but I’m still afloat.”
Archinuk used to host in-person classes on the basics of knitting, which provided income in addition to selling her products. During the shutdown, she has conducted them virtually.
Jill Mancuso owns Modern Roots Kids Co., a line of home-sewn clothing for babies and children sold at the market. Mancuso said it’s a bit easier for her to stay optimistic about what the remainder of the year will bring now that small and local vendors are receiving more support from their communities and beyond.
“Now that the season is ramping up again, I think vendors and customers are both eager to get back into the swing of things and show that small shop support,” Mancuso said. “One good thing that came from it (the pandemic) was it gave people more of an appreciation for small business and to support local in this community, which is what this market does.”
The market plans to remain open for the rest of 2020.