Apply To Be a Rust Belt Merchant
Tactile retail in the age of online everything
Some things are better in real life. The Rust Belt Market goes beyond the typical standalone storefront and offers creative minds a homebase. Many of our merchants operate successful online shops, participate in seasonal festivals, wholesale their merch, and benefit from having a consistent (small yet effective) brick & mortar. Our shop spaces are affordable with far less overhead costs than a typical lease but have all the benefits of being on main street. Ferndale is a walkable, discerning little city and a hub of outside-of-the-box thinkers. Its residents are engaged with local businesses and radiate a cool that attracts day-trippers and world-travelers alike. The market environment allows patrons to slow down and enjoy the good things in life--family, craft beer, and connecting with innovative people like yourself. Sometimes online retail can feel like an echo-chamber but having a shop at The Rust Belt can help fill that vacuum with valuable face-to-face feedback in realtime. Get your goods in front of customers who may have never discovered you otherwise. Our weekend destination is not a light commitment but can help grow your company if you aspire for more and rise up to the challenge.
A Few Things First
The Rust Belt Market is home to independently-owned, creative-based small businesses. Work is juried on process, quality, artistic merit, design, and merchandising. We strive to foster an environment of growth and evolution within a competitive yet welcoming, driven community of small business owners. As we are seeking well-rounded companies to feature, The Rust Belt is not a platform for hobbyists. We do not reply to applications without any online presence (website, etsy shop, facebook page, instagram, and/or blog, etc) and do not review work in person. Furthermore, we aim to maintain a balanced mix of merchandise for our patrons to enjoy; applicants may be denied or waitlisted due to market saturation of a particular medium, genre, or design trend. If your business aligns with the market's core values and vision, you will receive a response to your application within a few business days.
We currently offer two move-in-ready pop-up spaces for shorter-term stays: minimum one weekend commitment / maximum four consecutive weekends. If you'd like to "test the market," as they say, before considering a longer-term lease or simply drop in for a weekend, kindly submit an application for review.
Availability is limited.
Updated merchant FAQs coming soon.