This August, Seattle’s Pike Place Market celebrated its a hundred and fifteenth birthday. Since 1907, the enduring market has been residence to small companies, street-performing musicians, fish throwing, contemporary produce, and even the first-ever Starbucks.
RadioActive’s Antonio Nevarez went to Pike Place Market to speak to vacationers, regulars, and retailer house owners concerning the market as we speak.
[RadioActive Youth Media is KUOW’s radio journalism and audio storytelling program for young people. This story was entirely youth-produced, from the writing to the audio editing.]
n a latest Tuesday afternoon at Pike Place Market, consumers and vacationers had been in every single place. I’m going to Pike Place about as soon as every week, and currently, it feels extra vigorous than it has in years.
Alan Maldonado grew up going to Pike Place Market. Right this moment he’s visiting from Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s been 10 years for the reason that final time he was right here.
“It’s extremely nostalgic,” Maldonado mentioned. “I used to come back right here rather a lot as a child. It is sort of good to see that issues are completely different. Prefer it’s developed, however the core of the place stays the identical. It is nonetheless a spot the place folks collect, store, and you’ll see tons of attention-grabbing issues.”
Ava Suess agrees. Suess is an 18-year-old who has been to the Market many instances. However nonetheless, Suess mentioned, the Market is a spot for exploration. You by no means know what new stuff you’re going to seek out.
“Final week, we really noticed the gum wall for the primary time,” Suess mentioned. “All through all of the years of residing in Washington, I had by no means been to the gum wall. We went to this cute little honey place upstairs. We acquired the honey gum, after which we caught our gum on the wall. And it was the grossest factor ever. Nevertheless it was so enjoyable.”
So much has occurred in 115 years. Pike Place Market has seen each world wars. It was right here through the moon touchdown and Beatlemania. Pike Place was almost demolished within the early 70s, however it survived to see the invention of the web within the 90s, the election of America’s first Black president within the 2000s, and the legalization of same-sex marriage within the 2010s.
Most not too long ago, in 2020, the market confronted the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. A lot of the companies closed down for a number of months. A state-mandated lockdown took the market from crowded and busy to empty and quiet.
Thomas Marnin and Skye Saylor are a married couple who co-own MarninSaylor, a hand-crafted toy retailer in Pike Place Market. The shop is greatest identified for its “Pastry Pets” — stuffed animals that seem like doughnuts.
“There’s ‘Donut Cat,’ Marnin mentioned. “If what a maple bar is, we make a ‘Maple Bear.’ Éclair Bear. Honey Bun. Cinnamon Bun. Banana Cream Bun.”
MarninSaylor began as a sales space in Pike Place Market in 2013. Six years later, in late 2019, they moved from a sales space to a brick-and-mortar retailer. However nearly instantly, they needed to shut for 2 months when the pandemic began.
“It was fairly surprising to go from having the busiest months that we have ever skilled to immediately being closed,” Marnin mentioned. “I felt considerably despondent. I felt aimless.”
Marnin mentioned considered one of his favourite components about his job is interacting with prospects.
“After I’m within the retailer, I’ve magical experiences,” Marnin mentioned. “I attempt to have magical experiences every single day. You simply by no means know who you are going to run into.”
However with the store closed, these interactions had been immediately gone. And even when the store reopened, issues simply weren’t the identical.
“After we got here again, there was simply no one,” Marnin mentioned. “So I would be within the retailer simply making toys and searching the window. And I might actually hear footsteps coming down the hallway of the one group of individuals coming by.”
However because the pandemic went on and the COVID-19 vaccines rolled out, followers of Pike Place Market began returning to its cubicles, stands, and retailers, together with to MarninSaylor.
Marnin says currently, the return of consumers has reignited the spark he felt earlier than the shop closed.
“It reconnected me to the work we had been doing,” Marnin mentioned. “It gave me that goal that I had felt earlier than.”
Pike Place Market began 115 years in the past as a group of farmers and their produce wagons. Now, the market’s crimson neon signal is as synonymous with Seattle because the House Needle or rain.
“Pike Place is the guts of downtown Seattle,” Marnin mentioned. “Lots of people do not know that each enterprise in Pike Place begins in Pike Place. It is a little coral reef for native small companies to begin. There isn’t any place prefer it. Thanks, Pike Place Market. Thanks, native people who help the market. That is one thing that’s actually particular.”
Right here’s to 115 extra years.
This story was produced in RadioActive Youth Media’s Superior Producers drop-in workshop for highschool and college-age youth. Manufacturing help by Marian Mohamed. Edited and ready for the online by Kelsey Kupferer.
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