GILBERT, AZ — All businesses have had to adapt to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic for the last nine months and small businesses have been hit especially hard.
That is why ABC15 launched "We're Open Arizona," as a way to support small businesses and restaurants and showcase their stories, and how many have had to adapt throughout the pandemic.
Here is the story of Made With Love Market.
Cody Waltz and Maribeth Sublette are no strangers to owning small businesses. Both owned them in the past, and now the two are the co-creators of Made With Love Market, an outdoor market that showcases handmade items from dozens of other small businesses.
"Everything is homemade. Everything is locally made, and everyone actually creates their own product," said Sublette.
People can find clothing, home decorations, candles, pet items, baby items, and stuff for the kids, she said. Some will even customize an item right there on site. Did we mention that the holidays are just around the corner?
They launched in 2018 and have since grown and have captured a loyal following. From 45 vendors, they've grown to over 400 vendors in their pool, and before COVID, averaged between 5,000 and 7,000 people at every market.
They also have more than 21,000 followers on their Instagram page.
However, they too, have been impacted by the novel coronavirus. More than half of their incomes are gone.
They have also had to change how their markets operate to match the health and safety guidelines. The market has moved to SanTan Village in Gilbert and is located between Dillard's and Macy's in the northwest parking lot.
Vendors are at least six feet apart and their walkways are an estimated 45-feet wide, with plenty of space to spread out. There is no entry fee, masks are required, and most vendors accept cash and credit cards. Dogs are also welcome.
"I think in general, being a small business and having somebody come support you, you really do get the burst of joy every time that someone chooses to spend money with your business," said Waltz.
"But, this year, as everybody knows, it's more important to shop small. These small business owners have been working so hard. We have had quite a few small businesses who have not been able to push through the hard times over the last few months," she said.
"We learned that 67-cents of every dollar that is spent at a local small business, actually stays in the local economy... as compared to only 14 cents when that same dollar is spent at a chain store," said Sublette. "So, not only are people supporting families, supporting a dream, supporting a small business, but they're truly supporting their local economy in a very different way when they buy from small businesses."
The market is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at SanTan Village. You can view a schedule, here.
On Dec. 11-13, the market will temporarily reopen in the middle of the outdoor shopping center. The hours that weekend will be Friday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Santa will be there, as well as activities for the kids, and there will be a snowfall every hour.
Not everyone has the financial ability to support small businesses. Instead, the two women said people can support small businesses in other ways, including sharing or tagging that business on social media and telling their close friends or families about a particular business.
Recommend a business for us to highlight: We're looking to feature Arizona small businesses and restaurants. Do you have a favorite that we need to know about? Tell us about that business. Email us at OpenInAZ@abc15.com.