The Leslieville Flea: Virtual market from May 3 to 10 will support local artisans, help shoppers find Mother’s Day gifts

The Leslieville Flea hosts a virtual market from May 3 to 10.

By CHRIS ROBERTS AND BRIGID ELMY

We are living in unprecedented times right now and trying our best to navigate through them. In just seven weeks everything has changed, and we are trying to adapt to our new “normal”.

Social distancing and the closing up of shops, markets and events has almost ground our retail economy to a standstill.  Local businesses and artisans are struggling to survive.

In this rapidly changing environment, businesses are finding that they need to change or be left behind.  Online sales have been steadily increasing in recent years, but now more than ever shops and makers need to get their products online to be able to make sales.

Retail trends are also changing. People are now looking at where and how items are made. There is going to be an increased desire to buy locally made products that are made thoughtfully.  Customers are going to be more choosy with what they spend their money on and will be looking for quality over quantity going forward.

Watching small businesses struggle and hearing about local artisans who are now without income is shifting the focus to spending dollars where they count.  We need to support these entrepreneurs now so that they will still be around when this is over.

Restaurants and bars are being hit especially hard and there’s a small but steady movement to support them by ordering food and drink from them.  One thing to note is that if you want to give these businesses the most support, it’s important to pickup directly if you can.  Online delivery services are convenient but take a heavy cut of the profits, so if possible please contact the restaurants directly so all the money goes towards supporting them.

Social distancing is crucial to flattening the curve, but it is also proving to be very difficult for many. It’s hard to be cut off from friends and family and to carve out a new routine. The sense of community we all had prior to this now feels far away.

Markets and other events have always been a great place to gather and come together and many are missing our rituals and meeting places. Zoom calls and Face Time only goes so far to help us feel that connection we crave.

Community and connection has been shown to prolong and enrich our lives – so right now we need to find other ways to stay connected and support each other.

We at The Leslieville Flea are feeling this loss of community in a huge way. We miss our vendors, our visitors and the spirit of togetherness and fun that comes from our market days.

We too are looking at ways to adapt to the new retail experience.  Since we have had to cancel all markets until at least July 1, we have decided to host our first ever virtual market.

We will be holding it from May 3-10, just in time for Mother’s Day. Since most of us won’t be able to be with our families on this special day, we want to provide a simple, accessible way of gifting.

We will be featuring a select group of vendors, selling vintage and handcrafted goods, who will do a takeover of our Instagram stories each day. Visitors to the virtual market can interact with the vendors, see what they are selling and get some great ideas for gifts for mom.

It won’t make up for seeing everyone in person but will allow you to shop consciously and thoughtfully while supporting these talented artists.  Visit https://leslievilleflea.com/and be sure to follow us on Instagram @leslievilleflea and tune into our stories from May 3- 10 to shop the virtual Mother’s Day market.

We started The Leslieville Flea seven years ago this month, to create a place where artisans and collectors could sell their products. We’ve created a loyal and wonderful community of vendors and visitors and have helped to launch several successful businesses.

We are passionate about supporting individual artists and promoting eco friendly and conscious shopping. We hope we can continue to do so, even if the format has changed.

Until we can meet again in person, we encourage people to come check out our virtual market!

We are stronger together and we will get through it by supporting one another.


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