Harnessing Pittsburgh's artistic passion in a Strip District flea market
Carrie Nardini hopes that among the treasures visitors find at the urban flea market launching July 27 in the Strip District will be new friends and neighbors.
Nardini, who lives in Brookline, is the organizer of Neighborhood Flea, a curated marketplace that will showcase collections and handmade works created by local artists and crafters.
“Carrie has curated an incredible lineup of local businesses for this inaugural event,” says Galen Privett, who will bring items from his vintage menswear collection, Royal Establishment, to sell at the market. “Whether they sell vintage, handmade goods or food, Neighborhood Flea will help local brands and businesses get exposure in the Strip and will expose the robust Strip District customers to these new local businesses. I think it is a win-win for everybody involved and will create new relationships.”
Nardini believes that the Strip District will be the perfect location for buyers and sellers in a vibrant community already brimming with shops, restaurants and coffee shops. Her hope is that the Flea “offers a gathering place that brings these passionate people together in one space to begin a conversation and create connections,” she says.
She has experience in launching similar events, having worked with organizers of the Cleveland Flea, which started in April 2013. In 2007, she was the one of the founders and an organizer of the first I Made It! Market, a Pittsburgh-based nomadic indie crafts marketplace.
“When we started the Cleveland Flea, people came out of the woodwork with their collections, many that brought back memories of people's childhoods,” Nardini says. For shoppers who look for creative ways to utilize the unique flea-market finds in their homes, “it's a unique shopping experience.”
Sharing Nardini's enthusiasm for this weekend's Neighborhood Flea are some of the participants, including Red Pop Shop, a vintage shop owned by Bess Dunlevy of Castle Shannon and Jason Sumney and Michael Lutz of the North Side, based in Pittsburgh. They will have an assortment of vintage housewares, decor, accessories and furnishings.
“We sell a great deal of glassware and dishware that was once manufactured in and around the Pittsburgh region, everything from Canonsburg Pottery dishes to Jeannette Glass, Shenango China and Hazel Atlas glass,” Dunlevy says. “There is a wonderful history in our region of industry, particularly from the 1940s to 1970s, and we're proud to offer many of the items that were produced here during this era.”
Dunlevy says she appreciates any opportunity to connect with the community over a table filled with vintage collectibles, and she is looking forward to the event.
Melissa Smith of 1820 House Candle Co. in East Palestine, Ohio, will showcase travel candles and her new line of Rust Belt-inspired candles, including Rust Belt Candle No. 02.412, with a scent that suggests “the tough, hard-working city retreating to the Laurel Highlands — in a jar.” She says she looks forward to the open-air market vibe of the Strip District venue.
Ashley Croyle of Erie, owner of Papyrusaurus, featuring unique ornaments, wall hangings and jewelry made from vintage books, is excited to be a part of the new event.
“I love a good flea,” she says. “I adore finding old things made new again, meeting new friends and supporting local artisans. You never know what you'll find at a flea, and I think that's half the fun. The Neighborhood Flea is going to get residents excited about Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania artists again, and let everyone know what a vibrant, creative community we have here.”
Nardini says she hopes to offer the Neighborhood Flea the fourth Sunday of each month. Upcoming scheduled dates are Aug. 24 and Sept. 28. Vendor applications are available on the website.
Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.