Booths at last year's Clover Market in Chestnut Hill.

Booths at last year’s Clover Market in Chestnut Hill.

by Lizzie Stricklin

There is no better way to dive headfirst into autumn than with a shopping spree – especially when it also gives you the chance to enjoy the fall weather. The renowned Clover Market will give shoppers in Chestnut Hill that opportunity when it comes to town on Sunday, Sept. 11.

The esteemed Clover Market is an outdoor bazaar featuring vendors specializing in antiques, art, and homemade goods. Since its creation in 2010, the market has grown in size and prestige, now appearing in Chestnut Hill, Bryn Mawr, Philadelphia, and Collingswood, N. J. Shoppers flock to these one-day sales to find unique and often handcrafted merchandise in an exciting outdoor atmosphere.

“It’s fun!” is how the Clover Market was described by founder Janet Long. “It’s vibrant, full of color and inspiration, with lots of great food, family and dog-friendly and right in the heart of the downtown districts which makes for a terrific day of shopping and eating. I know our customers value the quality and craftsmanship that they see from the vendors, and enjoy purchasing locally and independently made products. They appreciate the time and care that goes into developing each show, on our end and from each of the vendors.”

Long created the Clover Market in 2010 after being inspired by European open-air markets, which she felt had no counterpart in the Philadelphia area.

“There wasn’t anything similar in our area that combined antiques and art together in one place,” she explained. “I hoped to fill the gap between flea markets and higher end, more specialized shows or galleries.  In an online-heavy world, I also loved the idea of creating a physical gathering place, or experience, which was committed to highlighting local small businesses.”

Since its creation, the market has grown to multiple locations, including Chestnut Hill in 2013. This fall will see five Clover Markets spanning Chestnut Hill, Bryn Mawr, and Collingswood, as well as an indoor winter market at the 23rd Street Armory in Philadelphia. The market has received numerous awards and has been highlighted in multiple magazines, including Main Line Today, Flea Market Magazine, and Vintage Style Magazine.

The Sept. 11 Chestnut Hill market will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.rain or shine, and will be stationed along West Highland Ave at Germantown Ave and in the 25 W. Highland Ave. parking lot. Although this market will host the same vendors as the upcoming markets in Bryn Mawr and Collingswood, it has its own unique touches.

“Each Market definitely has its own ‘feel’ depending on the physical location, of course,” Long said. “While our mix of vendors stays the same at each event, we always incorporate local elements. So for the Chestnut Hill event, two local groups will be providing the free kids’ crafts: The Waldorf School of Philadelphia and Nest Chestnut Hill. Brenda’s Cat Rescue, a local nonprofit, will also be hosting meet and greets with their adoptable animals. And, of course, we’re located right in the heart of a vibrant downtown with an abundance of retail and restaurant options, so we always encourage customers to ‘shop the market and shop the town.’”

The shopping experience is made worthwhile as only the best of the best vendors are chosen. All prospective vendors must complete the application process, regardless of whether they have participated in the market before. In this way the selection of vendors is able to be shaped and crafted to create the best possible lineup every year.

“In reviewing the vendors, we look for quality and uniqueness of their items, a clear visual voice and cohesive product line, the fit with the overall aesthetic of the Market, and the mix of sellers in each vending category,” Long said. “Almost as important is how the vendors present their inventory. This includes everything from the small details like packaging and labels to the overall setup within the tent. We’re looking for people who love creating a beautiful ‘shop for the day’ in a 10-foot square tent … all in a few hours time!”

Having now run Clover Market for six years, Long is a seasoned pro in the flea market scene. Nevertheless, the day of the market never fails to excite her.

“I love seeing it come together on the day of the event,” she said. “There’s so much work and planning that happens ahead of time, but at the end of our load in, to see all of the tents set up, and to feel the excitement in the air just before we open, it’s just electric.”

For art or antique lovers or simply those looking to score some unique, handcrafted merchandise, the Clover Market will be an exhilarating day of shopping and enjoyment. Shoppers are encouraged to bring the whole family, as they may discover a “lucky find” among the treasure of the Clover Market.

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