On Saturdays from May to October, the Fenton Street Market transforms Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring into a bustling marketplace full of crafts, antiques, fine art, imported goods from across the globe, and community programming ranging from local musical acts to yoga classes. The open-air market operates directly across the street from the farmers market, so market-goers pick up locally-grown foods on one side of Fenton Street and locally-sourced wares on the other.
Founded and managed by a group of Silver Spring residents, FSM invigorates the local economy by providing a venue for locally-owned businesses to sell quality crafts, imported goods, antiques and other unique products. FSM supports the growth and development of these locally-owned businesses and serves as a community gathering space for entrepreneurs and neighbors. In 2012, over 400 vendors participated in the market and earned over half a million dollars. Approximately 4,000 shoppers visit the market each Saturday.
To make the market a viable opportunity for new vendors, FSM offers: a reasonable booth rental rate, tent rentals, free internet exposure and marketing through our website and social media outlets, an umbrella insurance policy, and help filing for a temporary sales tax identification number.
Customers can check out the calendar of events, the weekly vendor map, and our weekly photo recaps. Vendors can read more about how to participate in the market here, apply on-line and check out these resources.
FSM began in the fall of 2009 in an empty parking lot at the corner of Silver Spring Avenue and Fenton Street a few blocks from the redeveloped section of downtown Silver Spring. Slated for future development, this under-utilized lot was transformed for two Saturdays in September and October by local crafters, entrepreneurs, and community members anxious to create a local market. After the success of the initial monthly markets that fall, FSM started as a weekly market running from April through November in 2010.
In October 2010, FSM moved to the newly opened Veterans Plaza with support from the Silver Spring Regional Center and Downtown Silver Spring. The market returned to Veterans Plaza for the 2011 season, which ran from April through November.
After concerns about the market’s future on Veterans Plaza in late 2011, an outpouring of support from the Silver Spring community encouraged FSM and Montgomery County to find a solution to save the market. In March 2012, after competing in a formal solicitation process, FSM was awarded a contract by Montgomery County to operate the market on Veterans Plaza for a minimum of three years.
Benefit Corporation Model
FSM is incorporated as a Benefit Corporation in the State of Maryland, making it one of a handful of visionary businesses that seek to create positive social change as part of their bottom line. Championed by Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin, Benefit Corporations use profit to enrich the community, rather than a few shareholders. Furthermore, Benefit Corporations pledge to protect the environment and operate using green principles. As a Benefit Corporation, FSM offers the following programs back to the community:
- FSM Vendor Network – a network of diverse entrepreneurs that build their capacity through education, connections to resources, and business development.
- Youth Employment – teenagers are recruited, trained and employed during the market season.
- Non-Profit Support – local non-profit organizations and community groups receive free spots at the market.
The FSM Team
Truly a collaborative effort, the FSM team includes: co-owner & manager Megan Moriarty; co-owner & founder Hannah McCann, winner of Montgomery Women’s Rising Star Award in 2012; vendor relations & marketing guru Amina Ahmad of Handmade Habitat; and creative dude Mike O’Brien of Red Table Press. Local teenagers provide support to vendors on market day.