Mesa Market Place

Even the spokeswoman for the Mesa Market Place Swap Meet concedes that she has to be careful how much money she’ll bring because she knows every cent will be spent.

 

Bringing the East Valley together for over 20 years, the recently reopened the Mesa Market Place Swap Meet continues to support local entrepreneurs by hosting over 900 small businesses in one location. 

Located at Signal Butte and Baseline roads and open every Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., the market offers a unique outdoor experience to those browsing for all manner of items.

At the market – supplemented with a restaurant, a deli, six snack bars and live music – patrons can find everything they need all within one and a quarter miles of shaded shopping space. 

“We’re the largest small business incubator in the state of Arizona, you won’t find more small businesses in any one place,” said market spokeswoman Joan Wells.

Many family-owned stores are exclusive to the market such as Stella’s Fashion, Fairyland Fun, The Larimar Stone, May’s Kettle Corn and Creation Cacti.

Wells said patrons can expect to see exclusive and reasonably priced products for every demographic. 

Many vendors even sell their inventions as well.

Admission and parking are free, but Wells suggests patrons will likely find many temptations for their wallets.

“I’ve worked here since 2005 and I’ve learned that I have to leave my purse at home,” Wells joked. “I bring $15 with me to shop. If you gave me $2,500, I could have it all spent by 3 o’clock this afternoon.”

Last year the Mesa Market underwent more changes than it ever had during Wells’ 16 years of employment. 

It closed in March 2020 and reopened only recently with mask and social distancing recommendations. 

Now, Wells spends her weekends encouraging customers to return by documenting the vast array of products for the Mesa Market’s Facebook and Instagram pages. 

She also focuses on forming lasting connections with the market’s customers, vendors and other employees. 

“It really is a family,” she said. “I think that’s the culture here. 

“Even people that sell the same things, for example, we have two people that sell pet accessories and if they don’t have what you want, they’ll send you to the other one.”

Keeping traditions and culture alive are an important part of the Mesa Market, as demonstrated by the authentic Native American and Southwestern art, jewelry and live music that can be found there. 

One vendor said she was influenced by her mother’s profession as an international bead stringer to begin a career selling jewels from around the world. 

“We’re known as an entrepreneurial outlet,” Wells said. “For as little as $300 a month, you get a lot of support because I’m posting on Facebook, I’m advertising and trying to get you as much foot traffic as I can.”

Priding itself on patriotism, the Mesa Market cultivates meaningful relationships with its 40 plus staff members, which includes many retirees and veterans. 

Additionally, the market holds fundraisers and drives to send care packages to deployed soldiers and homeless veterans on top of celebrating events like Fourth of July and Veteran’s Day. 

Well said the market hopes to bring back events such as pinning ceremonies for Vietnam veterans, their annual large-scale Safehaven trick-or-treating and Easter celebrations. 

Owners also are in the final stages of developing an app to assist customers in locating a desired vendor or product using a virtual map. 

It will also feature helpful images of the stores and merchandise taken by the vendors themselves. 

“You can people-watch, you can listen to music and window-shop. It’s just really fun shopping, not at all like grocery shopping, it’s better,” Wells said. ′

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