When Amy Yetman and her husband, Doug, hatched the idea of the Horseshoe Market in 2010, they wanted to create a flea market with a mission, mixing vintage finds and new handmades, with a real sense of community and support for their disparate vendors. Over ten years, that support is still the glue holding the Horseshoe together; without it, the market might as well be any of the many local flea markets that came before or popped up after that first event.
Yetman’s vision is continually changing with the times: She’s toyed with new models, added craft workshops, opened retail pop-ups, and tested the concept of combining a farmers’ market with a flea market in Jefferson Park.
Rather than throwing up her hands and giving up in the face of the COVID-19 shutdown, Yetman not only fought back with an online version of her spring market, but continues to support her vendors by creating a growing online Shop Local website with direct links to makers and sellers in every category. Follow her and her ever-morphing entrepreneurial adventure as she reconsiders the Colorado Creatives questionnaire.
Westword: How has your creative life grown or suffered since you last answered the CC questionnaire?
Amy Bergan Yetman: The chaos and disruption of the past few months have not left much room for my personal creative endeavors. However, entrepreneurial ideas and dedication to helping support the creative community and small business has only grown stronger.
As a creative, what’s your vision for a more perfect Denver (or Colorado)?
Small businesses, local retailers, and local artists and makers are what make cities rich and layered. However, in Denver it seems that success is limited to those with the most resources and money, and I wish our city had more diversity and opportunities in terms of rental spaces, studios and retail spaces. We were lucky to have a short-term opportunity at Edgewater Public Market, and we advocated for ourselves and our vendors. So many of our vendors have a retail dream or other dreams — and everyone is priced out, and it's a huge bummer and a huge loss for the city. Entrepreneurs and artisans need opportunity! I hope that as we come out of this, our city and country support that notion.
It’s a challenging time for artists and creatives in the metro area, who are being priced out of the city by gentrification and rising rents — and now the coronavirus threat, which is wreaking havoc with creative livelihoods.
What can people do about it?
Keep supporting locally made goods and local retailers and shops.
So many small businesses have pivoted to online and are innovating and doing things creatively — supporting them is absolutely essential. Not only does this help put food on someone’s table, but it keeps money circulating locally, thereby supporting other local companies, restaurants and their workers, and so on.
How is the Horseshoe Market weathering the COVID-19 lockdown?
We feel more connected to our vendors than ever. Our work as market directors has always been to create authentic, top-notch events that truly showcase for our vendors. With the current prohibition on large outdoor events, we have had to evolve and grow to help maintain our core mission of connecting customers and vendors! We are doing virtual markets on our Instagram (@horseshoemarket), and we also have created a new online directory. This site is helping serve that basic function of making sure people know where to find and shop from local makers and artists, connecting people directly to their online shops. As our country and Denver recover economically, we are committed to being at the forefront of helping our local artisan community survive and thrive!
What’s your dream project?
Building the mothership of makers platforms that spreads across the land, figuring out how to get people to buy directly from makers and local retailers, and deflating the Amazon balloon that we are all suffocated by and stuck under.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
I so love Emily Dobkin of Betterish and what’s she’s doing, as well as Fruits of Labour — a creative collective committed to making Denver more weird and wacky. Local plant guru Rooney Bloom and goal coach Jacki Carr are all giving me inspiration to keep going.
What's on your agenda right now and in the coming year?
Dreaming big and seeing this whole crisis as an opening of sorts. Horseshoe started and came from the recession of 2008. Sometimes when you feel like you have nothing, there’s also a sense of fearlessness and having nothing to lose. So I’m excited about what creative ideas and innovations will come from this time! Also, hoping to stay healthy as a family, keep taking care of our kids and being present, loving on our dogs, and finding and sustaining community through these weird times. And making sure our hundreds of vendors are still selling and working!
Who do you think will (or should) get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?
There are too many to name. But especially Emily of Betterish and the new creative arts community, Fruits of Labour.
Keep up with Amy Yetman and the Horseshoe Market online.