The Collegian
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Fall in love with RVA local businesses - Hardywood Park Craft Brewery’s Fall Artisan Market and Craft Fair

The Hardywood Park Craft Brewery hosted the Fall Artisan Market & Craft Fair late September with two University of Richmond alumni selling their products. 

Upon walking into the fair, market guests were immediately met with the sweet aroma of the candles and baked goods that were being sold by local Richmond artisans. A variety of items were sold, including crocheted items, wood crafts and jewelry. There was truly something for everyone, which was reflected by the range of ages and the diversity in the people that came together for this event.

The sense of community was vibrant as families, friends and Richmond locals gathered together to celebrate and support local businesses. Each artisan was enthused to speak on their craft and had a unique story that filled the festival with personality. 

Of the artisans, two booths were run by University of Richmond alumni. One of them was RVA Bakehouse, owned by Kim Buehler, ‘11, which sold baked goods, sourdough, pies and pretzel rolls. She said her products fluctuate in popularity. 

“Popularity depends on the season,” Buehler said. “Right now caramel apple [sourdough] is popular.”

The other was Robjent Designs, owned by Lindsay Robjent, ‘03, which sold various handmade objects like pens and a hand piano. Robjent said the business started because her husband had a passion for woodworking, and when he started to clutter up the basement, she decided that he needed to start selling his goods.

Robjent Designs was a younger business at the fair, having been started in November 2022. On the other hand, woodworker Dug Campbell of Dugwood Turners has been in the business for 45 years. 

Markets like this one are a great way for small businesses owners to make connections and get their product out in the world. Genovia Brown, owner of Geescakes, praised Richmond as a great city to get a small business started. 

“There are many small business owners that I’ve met throughout the Richmond area, and we support each other and just are really there for each other,” Brown said. 

Brown started her business after she brought a homemade eggnog cheesecake to a Christmas party and received raving reviews from all of her friends. After that, she started experimenting with other flavors and baked goods. Now she goes to markets almost every weekend to sell her baked goods, but baking isn’t her main job.

“It’s a side gig,” Brown said. “I do a market every Saturday.” 

The fair was attended by Richmond locals and some patrons from out of town. The Richmond area is home to many events like this. 

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“I think it's almost every weekend there are two or three things going on,” said a patron named Kelly who lives in Richmond and frequents events like these. 

Those who want to bring their business to a market like this have to complete an online application. The market organizers then decide what types of products they want to sell and choose vendors from the applications. If one market doesn’t work for a business then there will be another that does; there are lots of variety. 

“Fill out an application, and say what you do, and where you live and why you think you're special,” Robjent said. 

The market was a great experience, and markets like these are a great way to get involved in the Richmond community. 

Contact contributing writers Claire Mitchell and Virginia Moore at claire.mitchell@richmond.edu and virginia.moore@richmond.edu. 

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