On April 7, 2024, the Made in Tucson Market hit the streets of Tucson. Local vendors came from all around Tucson to share their creations with the public. ( © McKenna Manzo/ 2024)
On April 7, 2024, the Made in Tucson Market hit the streets of Tucson. Local vendors came from all around Tucson to share their creations with the public. ( © McKenna Manzo/ 2024)

“Community over competition” : Local Tucson vendors discuss their stories

 On April 7, the Made in Tucson Market hit the streets of Tucson. Local vendors came from across the city to share their creations with the public. 

It’s  a sunny afternoon, and visitors at the Made in Tucson Market were welcomed by local vendors who lined 4th avenue to celebrate the market’s fifth year. 

The market is run by The Coalition, a group of local individuals and artisans who are dedicated to, “…the preservation and protection of equity, diversity, and accessibility of the 4th Avenue District,” according to the Historic Fourth Avenue Coalition

Vendor Elishka Jepson, the owner of Robyriker Designs, said she enjoys that the Coalition keeps this market local.

“I love events like these here, Made in Tucson, where we get to interact with other folks that are in the community. And I think it’s very important that we try to promote our local economy, and I think Tucson is such a great place that we live anyway. It’s a lot of fun to go ahead and be able to interact with these events and share some local Tucson art and things like that,” she said. 

Stickers and other creations from Robyriker Designs. ( © McKenna Manzo/ 2024)


Jepson also said the market fosters a community that has helped her in her journey as a local business owner. 

“This is a great market, it’s all local Tucson businesses, a lot of the other markets we have here in town end up not just being local Tucson artists so it’s a great supportive community for us. The folks that put on the market do a lot of different outreach for the community as well so its a great organization and I’m glad to be a part of it,” she said. 

Zoë Rickenbach sells her homemade cookies and desserts at the Made in Tucson Market. ( © McKenna Manzo/ 2024)

Zoë Rickenbach, the owner of Sweet & Flour Bakery, agrees that the sense of community amongst vendors is important. 

“It’s always community over competition like we are all out here to support each other,” she said.

 For Rickenbach, many of the unknowns that come with being a local small business were answered through networking. 

“I wouldn’t have the friendships that I do if I hadn’t started up this small business. And just starting up you don’t know where to begin and then you need to find these people to fall back on,” she said.

 For some vendors, their love for their craft started off as a hobby. Miranda Alegria, the owner of Dreamy Things Clay Company, said her passion began in a craft store. 

“It started as a hobby,” she said, describing a trip to the craft store Michaels, that led to a passion for creating earrings. “I was just making them for myself and then before you know it I had way too many earrings. I had so many earrings I didn’t know what to do with them. My friends were getting sick of me trying to push earrings on to them.”

She started looking into markets, and her hobby has now become a business venture. 

Polymer clay earrings crafted by Dreamy Things Clay Company. ( © McKenna Manzo/ 2024)


Sara Seery, the owner of Prickly Posies, had a similar start to her flower business. 

“I did curated gift boxes and I added dried flowers to them and then I just kind of fell in love with dried flowers,” she said.

Bouquets put together by Prickly Posies. ( © McKenna Manzo/ 2024)

For Jepson, growing up around creativity is what sparked her own interest. 

“My mom is a graphic designer so growing up I was always around her working on her artwork and just started to learn from her. And once I got to college I started making t-shirts and it’s kind of grown from there,” she said. 

The Sunlink Streetcar was available to visitors of the market for free transportation to Fourth Avenue. This year, the Made in Tucson Market featured 300 artists, 13 food trucks, and live entertainment. The market will hit the streets of downtown again next year for its sixth annual celebration. 

Visitors of the Made in Tucson Market were able to explore the 4th Avenue District on On April 7, 2024. ( © McKenna Manzo/ 2024)



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