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Community market starts this weekend
Event will be at Senior Life Center in Gainesville
Wendy Pittman and daughter Rebekah Langhoff, 11, pick out beads Sunday at their home for a lanyard. Pittman will sell her handmade beaded jewelry at the Saturday Community Market, which will be held the first Saturday of every month at the Senior Life Center. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Saturday Community Market

What: Vendors bring their homemade crafts to sell the first Saturday of each month through summer.
When: 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday
Where: Senior Life Center, 434 Prior Street SE, Gainesville
How much: Free admission, call for table prices
Contact: 770-503-3330

Rebekah Langhoff, 11, lines up yellow and green “bling” beads in one hand, while her mother, Wendy Pittman, fingers blue and pink cracked glass beads inside a plastic organizer. Together the two are meticulously planning the color scheme of a beaded lanyard.

What they decide is more than a matter of preference: it’s a business decision.

Eight months ago Pittman, Langhoff, and other daughter Dallas, 13, started selling their crafts to bring in a little extra money.

“It was a way we could spend time together and supplement our income during the harsh economy,” Pittman said.

Working out of their Gainesville home and using only Facebook, an eBay store and word-of-mouth, Pittman and her daughters have turned their family hobby into a family enterprise. Their business, “PsD Beads and Bows,” brings in about $350 a month in profit.

The Pittmans will bring their hand-crafted goods-- beaded lanyards, bows and sports-themed bottle caps-- to the first Saturday Community Market this weekend.

The market, located at the Senior Life Center on Prior Street in Gainesville, will take place every first Saturday of the month and conclude in September.

Merry Howard, event organizer and Senior Life Center coordinator, is looking for all kinds of vendors to participate. No matter what your craft, she said, there’s room for you at the market.

“Some people might think that what they make isn’t marketable, but it is-- the sky’s the limit in my book,” Howard said.

Fresh produce from the Sunshine Sisters will also be available to buy.

Howard says the Saturday Community Market will allow folks a unique opportunity to sell their wares, particularly people like the Pittmans who have turned to a craft to help with home finances. Fees from the vendor table rentals in turn will help fund an expansion project at the Senior Life Center.

“We just have so many different things going on,” Howard said, “everyone who visits wants to see it grow and get bigger.”

In their craft room-slash-office, Pittman and Langhoff make their final selections for the lanyard, which will feature a handmade polymer clay bunny holding a colorful flower as the centerpiece. They choose the purple cracked glass beads, as well as the green and yellow bling beads, but decide against the mustard yellow seed beads.

“The lanyards take awhile to get the hang of the pattern,” Langhoff said.

Each week the family spends the equivalent of a full-time job making things; they’ve already crafted up quite an inventory of items to sell this weekend.

“We’re definitely going to do this every Saturday, the first Saturday of every month,” Pittman said. “We’re very excited.”

Pittman encourages others to pursue their own craft-making abilities as an enterprise, particularly if it can be turned into a family activity.

“We spent a lot of time in here together, and you can put a price on that,” she said.

The Saturday Community Market, which will take place between 8 a.m. and noon, begins this weekend.  Admission is free and the event is open to the public. For vendors it’s $25 to rent a table, or $15 to rent two parking spaces outside.