(This article was written by Steven Hughes and edited by Lisa Campos and appeared in the January issue of Explore Harlingen Magazine.)
More than 50 vendors set up tables inside the Valle Vista Mall for Small Business Saturday on November 25. The gloomy and drizzly weather didn’t stop hundreds of shoppers from coming to see what the new event was all about.
The market occurred again on December 9, this time garnering over 60 vendors and even more shoppers than the pilot event in November. With the success of these first two markets, the cadence of the Valle Vista Mall market will be every second Saturday of the month.
This new market is a result of small business owners discussing ways to return heavy shopping traffic with the mall’s leadership. The mall recently made headlines for losing power, with social media rumors of it dying.
“I’m glad [the mall] gave me the opportunity to do something and do something different,” Ryan Hernandez, who often held meetings with the mall’s leadership about hosting monthly vendor events, said during the event.
Hernandez convinced the mall’s leadership to host its indoor market in tandem with other vendor events at Harlingen. Harlingen now has four recurring monthly vendor events: Downtown Market Days on the first Saturday of the month; the Valle Vista Indoor Market on the second Saturday of the month; Downtown at Sundown on the third Saturday of the month; and Art Night on the last Friday of the month.
The vendors at the event included freeze-dried snacks, gift wrapping services, custom handmade tumblers, and handmade soaps.
Laura Mendieta, owner of the Plush Pantry and attended the first two Valle Vista indoor markets, said Harlingen’s only mall is a landmark. Juan Flores, co-owner of Hotspot, also sold at the first two markets. Both felt the success from the markets. Small business vendors like them are excited to have this new, consistent way to find new customers and grow their businesses.
The indoor market starts from 11 a.m. and lasts until 6 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month. For more information, call the mall office at 956-264-5262.