More than 65 crafters and potentially thousands of people are expected to descend on select venues in Mahone Bay as Maritime Makers hosts its first Etsy Made in Canada Spring Market on May 19 and 20.
Vendors are expected to transform the town into a bustling pop-up marketplace, offering shoppers unique handcrafted goods and vintage treasures, while local accommodations and restaurants soak up the spill-over business.
Jessika Hepburn, co-owner of The Biscuit Eater Café on Orchard Street and a co-founder of Maritime Makers, is organizing the event on behalf of the hugely successful global online marketplace for unique, vintage and hand-crafted items.
As a consultant for Etsy, Hepburn has helped orchestrate Etsy Made in Canada events in Halifax for the past four Septembers.
"This is the first spring show we've ever hosted.," Hepburn told LighthouseNOW, adding that it is also the first time the pop-up Maritime market place has been held outside of Halifax.
"And so far the response has been extraordinary," she said..
Not only has Hepburn had to turn away vendors for this event, she noted the Facebook reach has surpassed 88,000 people while there have been more than 3,000 RSVPs.
She was expecting even more shoppers to turn out to the event, with the Etsy Made In Canada events in Halifax typically attracting between 10,000 to 15,000 people.
"All of the bed and breakfasts that I've talked to are now full. I've already encouraged people who are coming up to reserve table space at restaurants ahead of time. And I know that a number of restaurants have already had a number of bookings and reservations for that weekend," said Hepburn.
"Which was really the goal. The Etsy Made in Canada shows that I host in Halifax, the last two have generated around $150,000 for those vendors in a day.
"That's sales to the vendors. It's not including any trickle out to the other businesses. So it's a pretty major economic event," she noted, which is why Maritime Made, a group founded to advocate creative entrepreneurship is looking at hosting these types of events in rural Nova Scotia.
The 67 vendors are coming from across Nova Scotia, as well as from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
They are being matched with the five venues where the Mahone Bay event will unfold - The Biscuit Eater, the Mahone Bay Centre, Here or There, Seamist Studio, and Tummy to Mummy.
Shoppers can expect to find a spectrum of treasures, including pottery, glass works, clothing, jewellery, accessories, soaps and home decor items.
According to Hepburn, who writes a popular blog for Etsy, the goal is to make the event twice yearly.
Meanwhile, she's working on establishing a weekly food and craft market at The Biscuit Eater as well as a night market there to be held once a month.
The idea is to have it along similar lines to the North By Night market on Halifax's North Street, which is hosted by the North End Business Association.
"We'd have lots of lights out in the back yard and we would probably end around 10," suggests Hepburn.
"So an evening thing for Mahone Bay, because there's not a lot about."
If all goes according to plan, that won't be the case next weekend.