Dave Vail is the man responsible for helping organize the vendors at the Holiday Bazaar in the Market Common.
“It takes 2 hours to get everybody set up and spaced out accordingly,” he tells me. “This will be the third year I’m doing this. And this is the fifth year for me working for Waccamaw Market Cooperative.”
Waccamaw Market Cooperative is a Clemson University Extension Service that helps farmers within a 50-mile radius find an outlet for their produce in the local area, ensuring that farmers earn a living, so that both community and farm support one another.
Dave is the market manager for Waccamaw, and himself lives on a farm. When he found they were looking for someone to help farmers have a voice in the community, he immediately took the job.
He orchestrates the farmers market during the summer months, which the community appreciated and frequented so much, that Waccamaw was looking to bring something similar to the population during November and December.
The Holiday Bazaar is what they picked. It features local artisans who make products from sustainable goods. There are baked goods— sweet rolls, and buns; pie makers; roasted nuts; homemade jewelry and soy candles; artists who repurpose vintage silverware and plates; even a vendor who makes knives out of old railroad spikes. There are also farmers selling winter crops of leafy greens and root vegetables. And these are just a few of the offerings. It’s the perfect place to do your holiday shopping, to find something personal, with a beautiful, artisanal touch, and a wonderful way to support your community at the same time.
“It was so well received last year that this is why we’re back again this year,” Dave says. “It’s not a tourist time of year, but people came out and supported the market. It’s just a fun time. You meet a lot of different people, you talk to a lot of people.”
Which is why Latoya Grayson is looking forward to it. She is a people person, and is in her element when she’s talking with and learning about others.
Latoya is the marketing manager and public relations specialist for the Insider at the Market Common.
“Right now, I’m trying to connect these unique communities of Surfside and Market Common,” she tells me. “They are 5 minutes apart, and both have so much to offer. I go to all the events in the community and talk to people asking them if they know about our publication and if they don’t, introducing them to it and showing them the ways we’re a fantastic resource for building community in general and their business in particular. I also look for businesses that I think both communities want to know about to be a part of our publication, and hopefully help them to grow their business by advertising with us.”
Latoya joined the Insider team six months ago. She’s attended both farmers markets in the Market Common as well as Surfside all summer.
“I feel strongly that our presence at these events shows how much we support them and helps to promote them,” she says. “This will be my first holiday bazaar, and I’m really excited, because the Surfside section is out, and our paper will be at 48 pages. I’m informing everybody about our growth.”
The bazaar is also where she’ll be introducing people to our new Faces in the Common section of our publication. New this month, we’ll be collecting photos of the people in our community at this and all future community events, and sharing those with everybody on our online publication at www.marketcommoninsider.com, as well as on our Facebook page. Your photo may even be selected to be published in our print edition! This is another avenue for us to connect our community.
“I like the fact that this paper is a year and a half old, and it’s growing so fast. It’s a feel good paper. I love hearing the feedback from advertisers, listening to their success stories—it pretty much sells itself. I hear a lot of great things about our paper, and I just love the whole process. It would be different if I had to promote kitchen knives,” Latoya says with a laugh.
Latoya’s personality radiates positivity and support. She seems to make an impression on people wherever she goes, and finds the time to talk to everybody.
“It’s what I like most about going to these events,” she says. “I love people. It’s love that has prepared me for this position. I’ve had a lot of different jobs in the past, but doing public relations is my favorite. I’m passionate about it.”
“We’re continuing to get more involved in our community,” Jim says. “And Latoya is our voice and face for that. The first time that she went to one of these events, we brought a chair for her to use, and she was there for 6 hours and never sat down once. Not everybody can go to an event and interact with people the way she does. She almost becomes the event— working it for the vendors’ benefit as well as ours. She really rolls her sleeves up and gets involved.”
“When I’m out there, since I’m a vendor too, I want to engage with them, as well as with the public,” she tells me. “It’s like we’re a team out there, and I’m working alongside of them. It’s important to treat people the way you want to be treated.”
“I know that these vendors are honest, hard working people,” Latoya says. “They grow their own plants, or produce honey, or weave yarn. People are proud to buy products that are made in America, and in this case, not only are you doing that, but you’re buying from the community and supporting it.”
“Latoya brings a lot of synergy to the whole event, because she engages with what not only we’re doing, but what they’re doing too,” Jim says. “I feel that’s so important because community support is what this is all about.
“We’ve been committed to supporting the farmers markets since the beginning of the paper. And we’re thrilled that it’s growing. I’m excited about the community, where it’s at, and where it’s going.”
The Holiday Bazaar
The Holiday Bazaar, runs Saturdays, November 4-December 16 from 12-4 pm on Howard Avenue in the Market Common.
Come out to get your photo taken with us and be featured in our new Faces in the Common section of the Insider