According to Megan DeMatteo, the volunteer coordinator for the center, the idea for the marketplace came about when the center purchased its property at 156 North 100 West earlier this year.
“We wanted to develop the property in a way that fit with our mission,” DeMatteo said.
The center’s mission is “promoting intercultural understanding and appreciation, and broadening opportunities for immigrants, indigenous groups, and other minorities through education, family support and community collaboration,” according to the MVMC website.
DeMatteo said center staff and board members felt creating a marketplace that would support a cultural exchange would help fulfill that mission.
“We want to encourage everyone from all walks of life to sell their wares,” she said.
In addition to providing a service to the community, DeMatteo said center staff is hoping that fees paid by marketplace vendors will help provide funding for other programs at the MVMC.
While the staff of the center hopes to encourage people to sell locally made products, the marketplace will also allow vendors to sell products from anywhere in the world, she said.
“We want to encourage people to sell things from all over,” DeMatteo said. She noted that Leticia Bentley, the MVMC outreach director, plans to sell jewelry crafted by women in Mexico who are survivors of domestic violence.
The center’s staff is also hoping to see a mix of both new and used items being sold at the market, DeMatteo said.
Rhiana Medina, executive director for the center, said MVMC is hoping to have the marketplace up and running by the end of July.
“We are going to try and do a self-service flea market,” she said. “In other words, we’ll post the guidelines and provide a drop box for vendor [information] and payments.”
Medina said the cost will be $10 for non-food vendors and $20 for food vendors.
“We will encourage non-English speaking vendors to ask for assistance learning about food handler and food service health guidelines as well as tax-paying procedures,” Medina said.
DeMatteo said the initial launch of the marketplace will be used as a trial run to help identify and work out any problems. However, she said if the launch goes well, the center will consider plans to further develop the property for the marketplace.
DeMatteo said the MVMC currently has a tent set up, but eventually the staff and board are hoping to turn the property into a plaza that serves as a center of commerce across cultures in Moab.
The current plan is for the marketplace to be held on Saturday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m. For more information, contact the Moab Valley Multicultural Center at 435-259-5444.