In a vibrant and diverse community, Asbury Park, New Jersey’s The Market at Fifth Avenue is a pinnacle of the shore town’s creative and entrepreneurial spirit.
“The number of creative, motivated people in Asbury Park is absolutely insane”, says Teeter Sperber, The Market’s manager, “The majority of our vendors are local to Asbury and have a solid understanding of how everyone rises to the top together”. Set in a vacant 6,500 square foot ocean side space that had been damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, The Market’s genesis began in earnest, “The curiosity of how a consignment store of mostly new and handmade goods could run started the conversation. Then that turned into what the business model would be and how could it operate with a single point of sale – similar to an antique center but modernized.” said co-founder Amanda DiRobella, “It was the epitome of a collaborative effort – each of the founders having a particular strong suit that benefited the model as a whole.”
Without a blueprint, the dream of The Market came to life thanks to more moxie than know-how, which DiRobella asserts worked to their advantage, “We had to invent the entire operation […] And for us, that meant really examining the experience from a consumer’s standpoint. It took months of research and asking for help/advice from shop owner friends to come up with a plan and even then, there is more we learned in the field than through any preparation we could have done”. They worked for five months straight to open The Market in time for Memorial Day Weekend — and the process explains Sperber, was no easy feat, “we’ve learned that you can never allow yourself enough time. There is somehow always room to start earlier […] It was an all hands on deck, around the clock situation”.
Luckily, all of their hard work paid off and resulted in what DiRobella describes as “Authentic, not pretentious. A marketplace made up of strong indie businesses that has the ability to serve all across the economic spectrum.” With a clean yet earthy finish the store maintains a “bright, open, comfortable, communal atmosphere” that is “lively, but not overbearing”.
This M.O.is the common thread that holds everything together; community and creativity are the pillars of The Market’s operation and, according to Sperber, the key to their success, “We try to convey in our day to day messaging to vendors that any success for our family of artisans and curators equals success for the Market as a whole and helps push forward our mission of promoting socially conscious consumerism.”
The team also makes sure to incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business by populating their space with second-hand or antique furniture, easily repurposable items, old tree stumps for seats in their café area, and energy efficient lighting, just to name a few. “we’re always working to increase our sustainability efforts, says Sperber and are “learning as we go.”
Any final piece of advice to others looking to do the same? “The power is in the collective! Whenever the opportunity presents itself, work to align with brands you admire and artists you respect.” says Sperber. Of course, add a dose of good old-fashioned hard work, says DiBello, “nothing good comes easy. Kindness and honesty is everything. PUSH THE ENVELOPE!”
Find out more on The Market website
Written by Katherine Oakes a health and lifestyle writer and dedicated hatha yoga instructor based in the New York City area.