Hayden Marketplace rounds out first year as co-op | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden Marketplace rounds out first year as co-op

Working together in West Routt

Margaret Hair

The Hayden Marketplace, partial owner and gourmet foods purveyor Andrea Wheat explained on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, is a work in progress.

“There hasn’t been a lot of retail business in Hayden for quite a long time, so that’s the biggest challenge, is letting people know that we’re here and what we have available,” Wheat said as she lead a tour through the displays by the co-op’s 25 full-time member artisans.

Many of the displays are adorned with what soap-maker and co-op member Dana Haskins refers to as “little rosettes,” or winning ribbons from the 2008 Routt County Fair. There are antique dressers and chairs adorned with Western-print baby blankets, handmade jewelry, scented candles, gourmet foods and horseshoe home decorations. The shelves are stocked, as the co-op’s members and guest contributors are working hard for an anticipated holiday gift rush.

On Dec. 6, The Hayden Marketplace will celebrate its one-year anniversary. The outlet’s first 10 months have included some expected kinks, but on the whole have gone well, Wheat said.

“We did a lot better than we anticipated in our first year, which is great, so we’re looking forward to the next 25,” she said. The store, which hosts about five guest artists in addition to its full-time roster, can hold the work of as much as 35 members, Wheat said. Each member is a partial owner, and each is required to work in the store at least eight hours a month.

As The Hayden Marketplace has gained footing, the store’s contributors have added pieces of themselves to the atmosphere. Along with antiques on loan from the Hayden Heritage Center Museum, artists have complemented their displays with personal artifacts – a throne-like chair is draped in scarves, and a Betty Boop statue serves up business cards and brochures about the town of Hayden. It all adds to the store’s small-town aesthetic, Haskins said.

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“We’re not in a strip mall; we’re just kind of out here all by ourselves,” Haskins said, noting the store’s former uses as a saloon, pool hall and meat locker. Leading up to the store’s one-year anniversary, Wheat and Haskins said The Hayden Marketplace hopes to increase its special events offerings. Arts and crafts classes are in store for 2009, rounding out a community outreach effort that already includes demonstrations by featured artists from 4 to 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month.

“We want this to be not only a store, but part of the community here in Hayden,” Wheat said. By offering craft and gourmet products at prices lower than many retail outlets in Routt County, Marketplace organizers hope to build on the team spirit they’ve developed during the past year.

“We believe in what we’re doing, and I think it serves a need,” Haskins said.