In 2009, friends Briana Kohlbrenner and Vanessa Rose had a vision to create a marketplace in Syracuse, NY that would provide a different shopping experience than stores or other craft markets in the area offered. They saw a growing maker trend online and began visiting handmade markets that appealed to their personal shopping tastes in nearby cities. They wanted to bring that energy to Syracuse and offer people an alternative venue to shop local and handmade, while also creating a space where local artists, independent makers, and craftspeople could showcase their wares. After months of research and planning, the Salt Market (originally called the Salt City Urban Art and Craft Market) was born. The event thereafter grew each year.
Over the next few years the Market continued to grow and develop stronger roots in the community. Two additional organizers, Stasya Erickson and Courtney Rile, were added to the group of Salty Ladies in 2010. The Salt Market experienced different venue locations, higher attendance numbers (growing 3,000+), and an increasing demand for more markets from visitors and vendors alike.
In response to requests from the community, in 2012 the Salty Ladies decided to pilot a second market. Playfully dubbed the ‘Pepper Market’, this event followed in the footsteps of Salt, but featured the special twist of showcasing 30 vendors selling wares $30 and under. The organizers were blown away by its successful debut and hosted another Pepper another in 2013. Soon after the organizers held their first spring event in 2015, they decided to take a market break.
Preparing and setting up for the first year was a true labor of love. Briana and Vanessa reached out to many friends and colleagues for support and advice. It was through this outreach that they found the market’s home for the first two years, the former Case Supply Building on the Near Westside of Syracuse (see photo below.) It took days of preparation and many helping hands but the result was sensational. On Saturday, October 24th, 2009, the Salt Market showcased 30 Central New York artists and craftspeople, presented local musicians who performed throughout the day, and saw 800 people pass through the doors. The response was overwhelmingly positive and the organizers were exhilarated by the experience. It was clear the Salt Market was fulfilling a need in Syracuse.