Even in the dead of winter with snow piling up outside of it’s door, the Indy Winter Farmers Market attracts hundreds of people on a weekly basis. The farmers market is located in the Circle City Industrial Complex (CCIC) on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and 10th Street. Despite the unassuming exterior, the Indy Winter Farmers Market is bustling inside.
When you walk through the doors the space is illuminated with the windows that line the roof, and the wide aisles between vendors are filled with patrons as they peruse the shops and their wares.
“I’ve never felt more welcomed in my life honestly,” Amy Gooderum, a long time patron of the market, says. “The second you walk in, there are these huge windows and beams. It has a vintage style that I love.”
The market has become its own micro-community. Thanks to it’s vintage and industrial aesthetic the farmers market and businesses that utilize this space are starting see an influx in foot traffic. Children run back and forth, and toddlers waddle behind their parents pushing tiny shopping carts filled with plush vegetables. The carts and toys are provided by the market for free to entertain the children.
Vendors come to the market to visit with each other as much as they go to sell their product. Items such as fresh, organic vegetables from RedWine Family Farms, artistic homemade soaps from Body Eclectic Skin Care and fresh baked bread and pastries from Amelia’s Bread are displayed with pride.
The CCIC was originally an automotive factory built in the 1920s. Since then, the building has been repurposed to serve as workspace for industrial users, offices and artisans and as the CCIC nears its 100th anniversary, more renovations and improvements are in the works.
“In addition to providing a forum for makers and small businesses,” Teagen Development Inc., the owner of the space, explains in their redevelopment plan. “The CCIC has a unique opportunity to engage the community through the creation of green space and connection with planned cultural initiatives.”
This is good news for Indianapolis’ economy. The benefits of patronizing local businesses means that on average 48 percent of each purchase will be recirculated locally, compared to less than 14 percent of purchases at chain stores.
The relationships between the vendors are deeper than a short greeting every Saturday. Many of these small businesses also sell each other’s products within their own shops. Caitlin Clonts, an employee at Tulip Tree Creamery is nearing the end of her first season with the Indy Winter Farmers Market.
“Everyone is so friendly here, and it’s nice because we can promote each other’s businesses. It feels great to see customers buy cheese from me and then walk straight over to Amelia’s Bread and get something there. We all work together,” she says.