Market forces

In anticipation of the opening of the West Street Market, the city of Reno is teaming up with local organizations for special themed market nights

The Artisan Market draws art lovers to the West Street Market.

The Artisan Market draws art lovers to the West Street Market.

Photo By Victoria Weiser

West Street Market

148 West St.
Reno, NV 89501

(775) 825-9255

One of the best things in life is a fresh, ripe tomato purchased on a warm Saturday morning from a farmers’ market. It doesn’t get much better than that. And in October, when the local farmers’ markets go away for the season, many locals go through withdrawal.

That’s what the city of Reno is counting on. Its first permanent urban market, the West Street Market, is set to pick up where the weekly farmers’ markets leave off. The 8,494-square-foot space on West Street will eventually house 15-18 permanent vendors and shops, including restaurants, demo kitchens, artist displays, educational booths and entertainment. In the center, an outdoor plaza, set for completion this month, will contain tables and chairs perfect for socializing and watching the city pass by. Out in the West Street median, the University of Nevada, Reno Cooperative Extension and other local groups have planted an edible garden.

The city is still securing permanent market vendors, but those already slated include Brickhouse Bakery; the soon-to-relocate Downtown Marketplace & Deli, gourmet and all-natural grocer; Mikonos, a Greek restaurant; the Great Basin Basket Community Supported Agriculture; Nevada Eco-Net; Sundance Bookstore, in its second location; and another relocating business, Se7en Teahouse & Bar, among others.

To build anticipation of the permanent market, the City has teamed with local organizations to launch three themed markets per week on West Street, from July through the end of September. The themed markets feature food and drinks, visual and performance art, cooking demonstrations, gardening, education and even garbage.

Wednesday Night Eco Markets
Every Wednesday through Sept. 10, 5 to 9 p.m.

Eco Nights are presented by Nevada EcoNet, a nonprofit environmental education organization. As executive director Lauren Siegel explains, the markets will feature businesses and organizations providing theme-based education and resources to market-goers on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

From left: Tom Qualls, Lauren Siegel and Jo Simpson of Nevada EcoNet oversee their booth during West Street Market’s Eco Night.

Photo By Victoria Weiser

Aug. 13: Eco-Education With the school year approaching, this market features educational vendors with an environmental focus, including Rockabye, a local baby boutique featuring organic and environmentally friendly products; Truckee Meadows Community College, which recently added a Renewable Energy Emphasis curriculum; Montessori School, which will discuss wind power and composting; Nevada Outdoor School, which fosters education about environmental stewardship in Nevada; Great Basin Institute, an organization that promotes environmental research and understanding around the West; and the UNR’s Academy for the Environment.

Aug. 20: Eco-Camp Headed to Burning Man? Learn to burn responsibly. Vendors include the Tahoe Rim Trail Association offering lessons on how to pack in and pack out and others selling reused or recycled sun-ready clothing, solar ovens and more.

Aug. 27: Eco-Health Look great and be responsible at the same time. Local salons and beauty product purveyors will be on hand, including: Aveda, yoga and Pilates studios, and Face First, makers of a purely mineral-based, petroleum-free line of cosmetics.

Sept. 3: Eco-Waste Think beyond your standard-issue, biweekly Waste Management bins. Meet vendors that take recycling and composting further—including a Habitat for Humanity store that recycles building materials.

Sept. 10: Eco-Energy Nevada is one of the nation’s most aggressive alternative energy producers. Meet vendors ranging from energy producers to energy auditors, and find solar, wind and insulation products.

Friday Night Artisan Markets
Every Friday through Sept. 12, 5-9 p.m. The Holland Project, a nonprofit organization that provides creative opportunities for Reno’s all ages crowd, presents themed Friday Artisan Markets. As Holland’s program director and the director of the market, Heather Fuss, explains, the market not only showcases local art, but it also exposes the marketplace to a younger demographic. “It’s been going so well, they might consider doing this every summer,” she says. A partnership with local radio station KTHX brings live music each Friday, and roughly 20 local vendors will be on hand hawking their wares.

Aug. 8: All Things Bike The Holland Project takes bikes to a whole new level. Catch The Sprockettes, an all-girl dance troupe out of Portland that performs entirely on bikes. Pete “The Sticker Guy” Menchetti, a former Renoite who now lives in Europe, is making a much-anticipated appearance at this market, and will be DJing and giving rides on his 7-seat “septocycle.” And the Reno Bike Project will be there, too. (For more information about this event, check out last week’s RN&R, “The Bike Issue.”)

Artist Annie Hooker displays her paintings at the Friday Night Artisan Market.

Photo By Victoria Weiser

Aug. 15: Spoken Views In this celebration of the written word, urban poets/storytellers Spoken Views, who appear regularly at Se7en Teahouse & Bar, will take it to the street, where there will also be a live, large-scale mural painting taking place.

Aug. 22: Bohemian Circus Pre-burn activities are in full effect, with performers en route from the East Coast to Burning Man, who will stop by to play accordion or belly dance. Catch a fire-spinning show, and another kind of spinning from yearly playa-dweller DJ Ryan.

Aug. 29: Anatomy of Body Art Celebrate the art of the body. UNR dance professor Cari Cunningham will lead a performance on West Street, as will local singer-songwriter Grace. You’ll also see live portrait drawing and tattoo art.

Sept. 5: Recycled Goods Art comes from unexpected places. Find it in recycled materials at this Friday market, which will feature a recycled sculpture garden and a performance by local folk band Buster Blue.

Sept. 12: Spontaneous Solutions See artists fly by the seat of their pants on this night dedicated to of-the-moment art and abstract painting. There will even be a live air guitar competition, which anyone who shows up can enter.

Saturday Farmers & Chefs Market
Every Saturday through Sept. 27, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Much of the success of local farmers’ markets can be attributed to Shirley Sponsler, owner of Crystal Bridge Enterprises, which operates five local farmers’ markets. As manager of the Saturday Farmers and Chefs Market, Sponsler explains that the Saturday markets were designed to feature fresh produce from area farmers, as well as cooking demonstrations by local chefs, who are anxiously awaiting space to work in the soon-to-be-opened plaza. The Saturday markets lead straight up to the permanent market’s projected early October opening.

Vendors include local favorites like Rodriguez Farms, bringing their much-beloved strawberries; Lattin Farms; Brickhouse Bakery, with gourmet baked goods and a line of chocolate meat rubs; Italian specialties importer Bella Italia; Nichols Fudge, with 32 varieties of fudge, as well as handmade ice creams; Face First, a line of mineral-based cosmetics, hosting makeovers at its booth; Tupperware; Smiley’s Grill, where market-goers can snag a great hot dog while shopping; a wood artist; and even a home-based, online scrapbooking business. Of course, regular features like fresh flowers, berries, fruits and vegetables will always be on hand. Sponsler says that there are still spaces left for farm stands, but they’re going fast. And, of course, once the plaza opens this month, there will be additional room for vendors, which may include a kiosk for Se7en Teahouse to sell its own line of teas in anticipation of its eventual move.

When the plaza opens later this month, local celebrity chef Jennifer Bushman will conduct weekly, themed demonstrations, including Kids in the Kitchen, Girls’ Night Out, Date with Dad, Teen Chefs, Holiday Cooking or Cooking for 1 or 2. Back of the House Cooking School will also present cooking demonstrations, and Bushman is charged with finding additional chefs—potentially from some of the major local hotel-casinos.

And yet, markets are never just about the food, which is what Sponsler loves about them. “There’s a huge social aspect to the market. That’s where people socialize. It becomes a tradition, a gathering place,” she says.