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Pair Hopes Handmade Crafts Market Becomes Big Hit

By Aaron Kraut

Wednesday - 3/26/2014, 2:20pm  ET

URBNmarket Bethesda logoA pair of Bethesda women are starting what they hope becomes a regular market dedicated to local vendors of handmade and vintage crafts.

Julie Grenstein and Debbie Sonnenreich started URBNmarket Bethesda to tap into a largely unknown group of of local jewelry, houseware, clothes and other types of crafts makers and sellers.

Sonnenreich said she saw the potential for a homegrown crafts market through her confection and cookie business, which put her in contact with a number of vendors.

“I do quite a lot of business on Etsy and most people have been in the area. But this is realizing that there’s a need for people working out of small offices or their homes to get themselves out there and in front of shoppers,” Sonnenreich said. “Shoppers want to feel and touch these products.”

The first URBNmarket is set for Sunday, May 18 and will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at in a banquet room of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad (5020 Battery Lane).

Grenstein said the idea is to run a market every few months.

“There’s so much local talent and we’ve gotten an amazing response so far,” said Grenstein, who expects about 50 vendors at the May 18 market.

The weekend before, the Bethesda Urban Partnership will put on its annual Bethesda Fine Arts Festival, an event featuring more upscale products from artists spread around the country.

Grenstein and Sonnenreich, two New York natives, met as college roommates at the University of Maryland and have lived in the area ever since.

“In my initial search for a retail location for my business, I realized that for a small business owner such as myself, it’s very difficult to find affordable retail space in Bethesda,” Sonnenreich said. “This brought me to the idea that there’s definitely a need for a market like this.”

The two are still accepting vendor applications. A spot in the market will cost vendors $125 for one table and $250 for two tables.

It is a juried event and the market will have vendors selling items including clothing, bath and beauty products, toys, decor and pet accessories. Check out the website for more information.