Every time you enter Handmade Market, it seems like a treasure hunt is about to unfold. Hand-painted decorative signs hang on the walls. Shelves hold treasures big and small, with everything from potted succulents to Edison lamps to jewelry displays. Cigar boxes have been transformed into unusual works of art. The drawers of an intricately painted chest brim with handmade blankets and throw pillows. There is something beautiful to look at everywhere you turn.
This unique Grossmont Center store sells items that are lovingly handcrafted by local artisans. When you hear that shopping local allows you to purchase distinctive merchandise you can’t find anywhere else, Handmade Market sums up that experience perfectly.
“Customers love our shop because we have a unique and ever-changing selection of handmade items, many of which are one of a kind,” says owner Camille Hinkle. “What makes my store different from the rest is that it supports local artists, craftsmen, and designers by featuring their creations and providing a storefront to display and promote their products.”
Hinkle is exceptionally qualified to run Handmade Market. An artisan herself, her work was showcased in the store for two years. When the previous owner mentioned she was ready to relinquish the business, Hinkle eagerly stepped up to take over. Since then, she has grown the number of featured vendors at Handmade Market from eight to about 22. Some of the vendors even spend time working in the store and enjoy talking with customers about their creations. It is the kind of personal interaction that is a bonus of buying local!
Virtually all of the inventory at Handmade Market is produced by local crafters. That includes an eclectic array of original gift items: pottery, potpourri, aprons for children and adults, handbags, hand-painted glasses and stemware, cups, soaps, steampunk jewelry, and much more. Colorful fused glass necklaces hang from one display, while another holds tote bags emblazoned with cats. There are whimsical copper enameled earrings in the shape of butterflies, and witty baby onesies with “Worth the Wait” emblazoned on them. The shop has even carried “have you ever seen that before?” items such as felted soap, in which a wool covering gives a bar of soap exfoliating properties similar to a loofah. One of the newest items in Handmade Market is a line of handcrafted soy candles. All of the products truly are labors of love and the shop definitely lives up to its name!
As an artisan, Hinkle loves working with all the people who contribute their wares to Handmade Market. She supports their careers because she wants to help others like her who enjoy the creative process. The store is a venue where they can share their artistic passion with the community.
She also enjoys meeting the customers who come into her store. With so many lovely and special items on display, it could seem overwhelming to try and choose from among them all. But Hinkle is an expert at helping shoppers find the ideal gift for a loved one. With the sheer variety of objects in the store, there is sure to be something for everyone on your gift list. “I love taking a special order to make that happen,” she says. “We want our customers to be happy.”
This high-level service is another hallmark of shopping local. Businesses such as Handmade Market provide many valuable services to the community. Of course, it creates opportunities for local craftspeople to sell their work and build their own entrepreneurial efforts. The store also offers shoppers an unparalleled experience because they can purchase merchandise that stands out and is different from the norm. Because Handmade Market is a store like no other, it draws people from all over and is an important part of Grossmont Center’s “shop local” tenant community. These businesses make the Center, and La Mesa, something special! They give our city a sense of character and a reputation as a go-to destination for shopping. As these local businesses draw more and more customers, they make an important contribution to the local economy through sales tax revenue. It is a win-win for everybody!
Hinkle looks forward to welcoming you to Handmade Market. She continually works to expand the number of artisans featured at the store, so there is always something new waiting to be discovered there. Come in and get ready to explore—you are sure to find something you will treasure!
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