‘The Youngstown Flea’ Seeks ‘Market for Makers’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Derrick McDowell is a sole proprietor who thinks big.

His resume begins with fast-food jobs when he was in high school and attending Youngstown State University. He moved on to selling cell phones and management positions with AT&T before striking out on his own.

McDowell founded Wardrobe Brand LLC in 2008 to sell apparel with the Wardrobe brand and last year secured the trademark to “We Are A Generation,” which he imprints on T-shirts and other garments.

Now he’s adding a third venture, The Youngstown Flea Market for Makers, which will make its debut April 23 in a parking lot next to the Covelli Centre, and be held monthly through October.

McDowell has about 30 vendors lined up for the first Market for Makers, which he conceives as an incubator for small vendors, mostly artisans and local food proprietors. “If you’re a maker, if you’re a creator, if you’re an originator of your product, then this is the market for you,” he says.

“A lot of these brands and businesses are in the beginning or intermediate stages, and they’ve gone elsewhere to sell their products. We want them to stay here and invest here. So when we say ‘shop local,’ it’s not just one of those cute statements. We’re giving you a venue to do just that.”

Not everyone can exhibit at The Youngstown Flea, McDowell adds. He screens applicants for display space– the fee is $50 per event – to ensure “we heighten our ascetic and overall experience compared to other flea markets. You’ll see handmade and hand-poured candles, authentically hand-stamped jewelry, artists from the community selling their paintings. It’s one of those events that there probably won’t be much you won’t see.”

Among those who has reserved space is Daniel Rauschenbach, co-owner of The Soap Gallery downtown. “I think it’s going to be a big success,” he says.

Rauschenbach, who will display his paintings at the event, credits McDowell with “making sure this is a full community effort.”

So does Marissa Devantier, owner of The Shop on Liberty Street in Hubbard, who will sell apparel from her Vintie Design Co. at the Market for Makers.

“It’s going to become an essential marketplace that adds culture and diversity in Youngstown,” Devantier says. “I hope it grows substantially and becomes an incubator for handmade businesses.”

The April 23 event begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Monthly events will follow May 21, June 25, July 23, Aug. 20, Sept. 24 and Oct. 22.

For more information, go to YoungstownFlea.com.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.