When Jen Soong moved from London to ATL in 2004, she felt like something was missing: a place where locals could meet, connect with and buy from talented local craftsmen and artisans, like the lively street markets she'd peruse on the weekends across the pond. "Places like the Columbia Road Market turned empty streets into lively gathering places for locals and visitors," she says. "I would think to myself, 'Atlanta needs something like this.'" Hear, hear. Thus, the seed of an idea was planted, and began sprouting as soon as she started meeting likeminded crafty Atlantans when she started SOMA Goods, her noble upcycling/refugee-assisting project. And after years of talking, planning and dreaming, the idea for a small, curated local marketplace is finally taking root this very weekend.
With a small, curated selection of vendors who Jen describes as "on the cusp of growing," Root City Market is meant to be manageable, not overwhelming, so that visitors can have the chance to truly meet and interact with the artists—and maybe discover something they've never heard of before. Like, say, gorgeously rustic furniture and home accessories hand-hewn by the artisans of Lamon Luther, who employ homeless carpenters and teach them their craft. Or perhaps a jar of Slatherin' Sauce, courtesy of the fine folks of Local Market South. Maybe indulge your sweet tooth with a sweet tribute to our home state from the confection-crafters at Sugar Style Events. And top it all off with a heaping dose of the warm 'n fuzzies you feel after meeting some of ATL's most talented makers, face-to-face.
"I think locals here are craving a chance to connect with other awesome local companies," Jen says, "and so many artists are looking to spread their story." We can't wait to meet these local craftsmen, shake their hand, peruse their wares... and possibly procure some one-of-a-kind goods while we're at it.
Ready to hit up some local goodness this weekend? Head to The Jane this Saturday, June 15, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. In the meantime, check out Root City Market on Facebook to get the scoop on this weekend's market and future goings-on. Locals unite!