5 Questions about the SOMO Marketplace
By Nick Walden / Towns Correspondent
The Sonoma Mountain Marketplace is a unique idea for a unique space in Rohnert Park. As part of the SOMO Village, the marketplace will be a collective of different types of vendors all under one roof with the idea of creating a wholesome family venue for the community.
The marketplace will be open on the weekends year-round. Vendor booths will be built-in like an indoor street fair with the style of 1900’s Main Street set inside a 200,000 square foot building. The vendors will sell everything from Artisan made crafts to fresh produce, and antiques to new items. There are also plans for food, live performances and plenty of entertainment.
Crossing the Jordan Foundation is the local non-profit group that is helping create the marketplace. Founded in 2011, Crossing the Jordan has a mission of providing services to mothers and women in the community that are victims of human trafficking, homeless mothers, suffers of domestic violence and those who are drug addicted.
We asked Dana Bryant, the Executive Director of the foundation, five questions to get to know more about the soon-to-open marketplace:
Where did the idea for the theme come from?
I have had the vision for some time for creating a family friendly place in Sonoma County. I had spoken to Bret Martin last year and I told him about my crazy vision to build a theme park, Sonoma Style. Bret came to us early this year with the idea of a swap meet. I thought, “why not put both of our visions together somehow?”
My husband, Michael Bryant and I wanted to create a place that was friendly to children while still offering an extraordinary shopping experience. We wanted to create a theme park like experience at the Marketplace. The design is very urban chic and the 1900’s theme fits well with the vintage look.
It is our deepest desire to create a family friendly place that is open year round, every single weekend that brings back that safe, nostalgic, wholesome feel to our community. The Turn of the Century, old Main Street USA somehow captures that essence.
How many vendors are currently signed up?
We have over 105 vendors to date signed up. Birds Nest in Montgomery Village will be having a large booth. Kindred Fair Trade Handcrafts on 4th Street and Wee Three Childrens clothing will be opening a new type of store there. We have many businesses every day inquiring.
What is planned for opening weekend?
We are opening on September 6 and 7. It will be a soft open but we expect quite a crowd.
Our big Grand Opening Weekend is September 27 and 28. We will have Barbershop Quartets, carriage rides, are working on some waterslides, additional outdoor vendors and much more.
We are currently working on an art booth for children and other craft booths. We will be selling lace parasols to the little girls and barbershop and straw hats to the boys. This generation could use a little fun from the past.
Why is Crossing the Jordan helping create this type of venue?
Crossing the Jordan’s mission is to bring housing and hope to women and children in need. Job creation is at the core of who we are. We currently have three facilities with nearly 60 beds. We are committed to creating industries that fund our missions.
We have evidence that by including these extraordinarily talented women in our projects that it creates purpose and camaraderie in their lives that they have never experienced before.
We are so grateful to Codding Enterprises and the Ken Martin family for believing in these amazing women and giving them the opportunity to shine. Not every business owner would be willing to take that risk or even care about our mission. They do and they are willing to prove it to the women that they believe they are worth so much more.
What will make the SOMO Marketplace different than other shopping areas or farmer’s markets?
The Farmers Markets tend to be mostly food and a few artisans. Antique dealers often head out to Alameda for the Antique Fairs. Someone that sells quality used clothing likely has to open a retail location which is expensive.
We are creating a Street Fair that brings many types of vendors together while adding the theme park like quality to the venue. This is not a flea market or really even a swap meet; it’s a Street Fair that has a lot of variety. For example, Antique Lane will offer a separate section to the true Antique dealers.
Additionally, the Farmers Market section is decorated like an authentic old fashioned farmers market and we have just some neat local producers. Many of the vendors are joining in on our themes.
Located inside the SOMO Village at 1400 Valley House Drive, the Sonoma Mountain Marketplace will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday starting on Sept 6. There will be no charge to enter the marketplace and parking will be free.
For additional information visit SonomaMountainSwap.com.