As fall winds struck Cambridge last weekend, one attraction brought warmth to an otherwise cold day: the Harvard Square Open Market. Located on Church Street, the market runs weekly on Sundays through Oct. 30, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features the shops of dozens of local Boston-area artists, curators, and business owners with a vast range of products from posters to plants to secondhand clothes.
The market is a result of the Harvard Square Business Association’s partnership with New England Open Markets and offers an opportunity for small businesses that may not otherwise have the option to sell goods in person to reach a larger client base.
“I don’t have a physical store,” said Ariana LaMotte, owner of Ariana Thrifts. “I’ve been selling at the New England Open Markets all summer — just popping up here and there.”
Artist Amy Hartigan also appreciates the market for letting her explore a burgeoning hobby.
“My main hustle was that I owned a consulting company doing marketing and PR, but then I started painting so now I’m hoping my side hustle becomes my main hustle,” she said.
Even business owners with brick-and-mortar locations can benefit from the open market. Bob Perry, for example, runs the market stand for Cheapo Records, which also has a location in Central Square.
“The store and the market go hand in hand — the store is always open and markets create a new location every weekend,” Perry said. “It’s like having two stores on a Sunday.”
Even young people have gotten involved in the vendor community. Boy Scouts Richard Zaloom and Alex Saba from Troop 194 sold popcorn at the market.
“We’ve never tried going out of our hometown of Bedford. But we decided that since we know a few people who work in this area, we would set up at the market and see how well we could do,” Zaloom said.
“And so far we’re doing really well!” Saba said with a nod, noting that they also ran into a former member of their troop as they were selling that day.
Supporting members of the community is at the core of the market’s mission. Cellist Keefer Glenshaw studies at the Berklee College of Music and busks at the open market every week, where passersby can enjoy his music.
“There have been a couple times where my money has fully blown away and people have had the kindness to pick it up and bring it back to my tip basket,” he said.
Like Glenshaw, many other vendors lauded the strong community at the open market.
“Every time I do a show like this, I meet new people and then we can do collaborations or learn about new shows,” Hartigan said.
Fiona Kikoyo, the owner of Phionah — a business that sells homemade pillows and candles — similarly admires the breadth of goods the market has to offer.
“This market just has diversity. There’s so much you can find here and everyone has different things to sell,” Kikoyo said.
So why support the market? Gabrielle Boyce, owner of The G Spot Vintage Shop shared a simple yet powerful answer.
“Support local artists! Support local businesses! Shop sustainably! Shop local!” she said. “Coming here puts money back into our city.”