It’s been nearly eight years since Amy and Doug Yetman debuted their Horseshoe Market in the parking lot of a mortuary in Denver’s Berkeley neighborhood. The craft and vintage market was small and highly curated then, and despite Denver's growth, the market still has its original neighborly vibe.
These days, the concept of a friendly street market has turned into a big business proposition for a growing pool of local competitors, and the Yetmans are still trying to figure out how to keep Horseshoe Market small while growing it big. But if anything, they have only more doggedly stuck to their modest goals.
“There are so many markets now,” says Amy Yetman. “And it’s great, but it gets oversaturated. We've always had that question of how to keep the Horseshoe Market relevant. We want to stay small with a street ambience, and we feel rooted in that mission.”
The market has grown from its original 100-vendor cap to about 130 slated for the Horseshoe’s 2017 spring kickoff on Saturday, May 13. In jurying the show, Yetman and her crew have carefully molded the vendor selection to include old favorites with fresh merchandise along with a good percentage of new and first-time booths and trucks. Music will also be a more important part of the market, thanks to a new partnership with the Swallow Hill Music Association.
The Horseshoe difference, Yetman says, is in the way she selects and supports her vendors on a human level. “We try to retain that true artisan feel. People come back just for the wow factor of seeing what proven vendors will bring, but we also have a good rep for being supportive of emerging people who’ve never done a market before. I can see their excitement and fear.
“It’s fun to have people who are true artisans, with something you won’t see at another market,” she adds. “We want a market where it feels like the vendors are not just there to sell stuff. They sell it because they love it, and they want to talk about it.” In that light, we asked Yetman to highlight a few new vendors you’ll be talking to at the 2017 Spring Horseshoe Market. Here's a mini-preview, in alphabetical order.
Though Amy Yetman is still completely committed to supporting Colorado artisans at the Horseshoe, she’s accepted a few new vendors from other states to keep the market looking fresh, like Brooklyn-based Bekka Palmer. In her favor, Palmer did end up in New York by way of Lakewood, and her whimsical handcrafted bags and jewelry uphold the Horseshoe sensibility.
Ashley Kubba’s simply crafted, small-batch body butters and serums are made to order weekly. Amy Yetman likes the look and ethic of Blueprint Botanicals and thinks you will, too.
The Circus: A Kids Mobile Boutique
In a world where fashion trucks are parked on every corner (okay, an exaggeration, but they have multiplied in Denver), one that caters specifically to children is bound to turn heads on Tennyson Street. The Circus will drive up to the Horseshoe with adorable clothes and kicks for kiddos. We hear they have LEGO Stormtrooper bow ties!
Mavis the Magical Bookmobile
BookBar, the wine bar/bookstore located just down Tennyson street from the Horseshoe grounds, is branching out these days with Mavis the Magical Bookmobile, a mini-version of the brick-and-mortar built into the back of a former ambulance. Kids are invited to cozy up with what Yetman calls “interesting books, not the ones that you can find at Target.” Literacy has a new champion.
Soul Man Prints
Denverite and former graphic designer Mandy Hicks put her know-how to work in creating smart T-shirts inspired by feel-good soul-music soundbites that look great on everyone, from babies to grandmas. Put on some “Love and Happiness,” and know that 10 percent of your purchase will benefit one of a revolving group of nonprofits supported by Soul Man.
Tooth Craft Goods
Joe Lessard and Travis Wall of Tooth Craft Goods use repurposed scraps of wood and fabric, and vinyl records and their jackets, to make brand-new bags, handsome wooden jewelry, planters, notebooks and hammocks, all ready to live a second life.
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Yetman loves YAWWAA for its highly curated thrift-store collections of overlooked items elevated by context, out of the jumble of junk on a shelf at Goodwill. The vendor’s vintage ceramics, mugs, textiles, clothing and accessories come back into the light of their better days under the roof of YAWWAA’s tent. Snap up something classic — and homey.
The 2017 Spring Horseshoe Market will feature 130 or more craft, food and vintage vendors, five food trucks, live music, a mobile photo booth, DIY art-making activities and more, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 13, at the parking lot at 4345 West 46th Avenue. Admission is free. Afterward, cross the street for the annual Berkeley Beer & Spirits Festival and Horseshoe after-party, 3 to 7 p.m. at Local 46. Visit the Horseshoe Market online for information.