Started by local couple Wendy Swan-Salam and Abdulai Salam, The Swan Market provides opportunities for community vendors to fill a gap in Homer’s community market scene: cruise ship tourism.
The couple, owners of Mina’s Beauty Center, regularly sell their handmade goods at the Homer Farmers Market. They realized because the Farmer’s Market does not operate on cruise ship days, they were missing a tremendous opportunity to share their products. Acknowledging this deficit, Swan-Salam said that rather than waiting for someone else to fill this need, “we just did it ourselves.”
“They did a fabulous job organizing it,” said one vendor, Suraj Holzwarth (White Eagle Medicine Woman).
The Swan Market boasts a variety of handmade goods and other products. Items range from cutting boards and coasters to beadwork, leather, earrings, photographs, combs, shea butter, drums, and much more. Vendors also include a food truck, and the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies providing tour information; particularly useful for tourists.
The combination and variety of all these vendors make a nice stop for both tourists and locals.
“It’s a beautiful market,” said Holzwarth.
The market, held at the Homer Elks Lodge, has happened once so far, May 31, and will open on each day that a cruise ship is in Homer. This summer it will be the Holland America ship, Maasdam, docking in Homer every two weeks on Tuesdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
When asked how the first market was attended, Swan-Salam reported said that it was somewhat slow, partially due to a mix-up in location on a flyer given to cruise ship guests. A mix of tourists and locals attended the first market.
Holzwarth, of The Whirling Rainbow Foundation, explained that though it was a little slow, she made a number of great connections, and said that she looks forward to sharing her work with people from around the country and the world.
Though there was a mix of visitors and locals at the first Swan Market, Holzwarth still encourages more locals to attend, saying that it offers a lot as far as gifts for friends and family, and opportunities to learn.
Despite a slow first go, Swan-Salam is seems said she’s optimistic about future business.
“As the summer starts going on, I think it’s really going to pick up,” she said.
She also expressed hope that as awareness of the market builds, so will business.She hopes that attendance will really pick up as the summer goes on and more people become aware of the market.
The Swan Market boasts a variety of handmade goods and other products. Items range from cutting boards and coasters to beadwork, leather, earrings, photographs, combs, shea butter, and much more.
Vendors also include a food truck, and The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies providing tour information. Swan-Salam also mentioned the possibility and hope for local musicians to accompany the event. Musicians and vendors can contact Swan-Salam for more information on attending (see box, this page, for contacts).
For any vendors interested in joining this dynamic group, Swan-Salam assures that the Swan Market is always accepting applications for new sellers, with spaces both indoors and out. According to the group’s Facebook page, where vendor applications can the be found, the more vendors that apply, the cheaper the spaces will be.
Mattea Peters is an intern working for the Homer News.