Updated 11/29/2009 05:09 PM
Union Square Market Opens For Holiday Season
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The 14th annual Union Square Holiday Market opened for business Sunday, with more than 100 boutiques selling handmade decorations, fine art, food, and jewelery.
While buyers are paying more attention to prices this year, shop owners say there is still a demand for handcrafted items.
"It's a wonderful place because most of the goods are made by the craftsman and they represent or they're imported by them, so it's a direct way to learn about what the people in the city, the traders in the city are doing, and finding things that you can not see elsewhere," said vendor Leo Kraidelman.
"It's perfectly for small gifts to give like colleagues or family members. It's very unique because it's one of a kind, and it's not the usual thing you get in big stores, so it's a very very special gift to someone you really like," said vendor Diana Labschies.
While the Holiday Market may seem quaint, credit and debit cards are accepted and many vendors say they are happy to do returns or exchanges. And unlike major retailers, vendors are more likely open to haggling -- a tactic they say more people are trying.
"Last year we definitely felt the recession, this year we definitely feel an improvement," said one vendor. "People are happier, more relaxed. They are very willing to shop. They are shopping and they are not as stressed as last year."
While each booth is unique, many vendors share the common mission of selling organic, fair trade, recycled and sustainable goods. It's a practice they say gives buyers not only an interesting product, but one they can feel good about.
"I think if I get to shop somewhere that brings a medley of unique artists and cultures together, it's gonna make a great gift. Also they're inexpensive," said market shopper Tara Pietz.
"People really like shopping in the markets, they get real value for their money, something unique and a great shopping experience when you talk to the artists or the creator," said Liz Rees of Urban Space Markets.
The market is open seven days a week through Christmas Eve.