This is the first in a series of Shopper Stories where Crafty Marters can share their awesome finds and the great experience they had at one of our Marts. For our first story, we decided we'd stick pretty close to home.

Name: Brit Charek

Profession: Director at Crafty Mart, Inc. and English Teacher

About me: I'm a person who wears many hats. I'm a mom, a wife, an educator, a cheerleader for creatives and small businesses. I've done a lot of things in my past lives: I've lived on the West Coast and the Gold Coast, piloted single engine aircrafts, been that girl at every single punk rock show, and had just about any job you can think of-- from serving beers at 7am at a British Pub during the World Cup to teaching the deaf how to ride a snowboard. I studied Literature, but am a total sucker for great TV and film. I love adventuring with my incredible family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes, you can't avoid mixing business and pleasure. Even though I was at the Pop Up Crafty Mart at the Akron Artwalk to work, I couldn't help but do some shopping.

My husband came up to visit with my son, so I figured I'd grab my kiddo and take a walk around to check out all the vendors. The first table to catch my five year old's eye belonged to Kellie of the Nerd Stitch Shop. Kellie just started vending with Crafty Mart this year, and I knew it wouldn't be long before I caved in and bought something of hers for the many, many nerds in my life.

Holden was enamored with a tiny cross stitched Mega Man pin. At first I dismissed him and started to move along, I mean, he's five years old. There's no way he even knows Mega Man is. He isn't one of the characters in Super Smash Brothers or Mario Kart 64, which are the only video games we have that are were produced before the year 2000.

As I tried to move on to the next vendor, Holden pulled me back to the table by my sleeve, pointed to the pin, and firmly stated, "Mommy, I know who this is. This is MEGA MAN." So I bought him the pin. It cost just $5, and he must have showed it off to every person he interacted with for the rest of the night.

Next up, I stopped by Akron Coffee Roasters. I get coffee beans from them every month. (Yes, Crafty Mart has a pop up market the first Saturday of every month during the Akron Artwalk!) Normally I just go with whatever Albert recommends, but this time I went with the Finca Buenavista for the second month in a row. It's from Columbia and the notes of apple and honey are a refreshing change from the richer coffees that I usually gravitate towards.

On every bag of beans Akron Coffee Roasters sell, they hand stamp the date the beans were roasted. These ones were roasted the day before I got them, and believe me, it makes a difference. You can come try some at the next Artwalk. They're always giving out samples!

Next up, I decided to buy something for me. I've adored Caitlin of Next Fall Boutique's line of jewelry since she started vending at Crafty Mart a few years back.

After oogling everything on Caitlin's beautiful display, I settled on these pyrite and sterling silver earrings. Holden approved, although he told me that they "just looked like rocks." I could tell he was getting a little anxious, so I started making way back to find my husband.

When I found Mathias, I saw that he had bought something for himself, which is great because I didn't have to feel guilty that I didn't get him anything from the Nerd Stitch Shop.

These chocolates from Sweet Bean Candies were equal parts beautiful and delicious. The assorted flavors included Lemon Chiffon, Honey + Lavender Caramel, Buttermint, and Malted Milk. And yes, I'm well aware that there is one missing in the photo, but I wasn't quick enough with my camera. 

All of Sweet Bean's candies are hand-molded and hand-painted with fillings made from scratch. They also make an effort to use as many local ingredients as possible. 

We headed over to Stray Dog Cart to grab some dinner. The boys got hot dogs, and I opted for some momo. Momo, which are made by Three Sisters, are vegetarian dumplings from Napal. They're a tiny bit spicy but have such an amazing flavor.

Stray Dog will be returning (with dogs AND momo!) to Crafty Mart for the Mom & Pop Shoppe on April 25th. They'll be serving up delicious food at our Preview Gala on April 24th from 5-8pm as well. (Learn more and buy tickets here.)

I also bought a cowl crocheted from recycled t-shirts by Little Birdie Design Studio and an unladylike amount of fudge from Our Daily Bread Bakery.

Shortly thereafter, my family went home. After my colleagues and I closed down and helped all the vendors get packed up, I started making my shopping list in my mind for the Mom & Pop Shoppe later this month. I better start putting some money aside now!

Are you interested in sharing your shopper story on Crafty Mart's blog? Email us at craftymart@gmail.com with the words "Shopper Story" in the subject line.

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