The Rust Belt Market

Metro-Detroit's Finest Artist & Vintage Marketplace

Weekend Rates

  • Contract Term: 24 Weekends, lease rate $100/Weekend*  

  • Contract Term: 12 Weekends, lease rate $110/Weekend**

  • Contract Term: No Contract, lease rate $125/Weekend

*$95/Weekend when paying for one month in full on the first Saturday of each monthly billing cycle.  

**$105/Weekend when paying for one month in full on the first Saturday of each monthly billing cycle.

The lease rates above are based on our basic 80 sq ft spaces. We do have a limited amount of smaller and larger spaces. Rates discussed and calculated upon applicant approval.

$100 Security Deposit required for all contract merchants and is refundable upon completion of contract without damage to space.  

DIY Weekend Rental Rate

One weekend annually, September 

  • Contract Term: 24 Weekends, $150 for DIY Weekend

  • Contract Term: 12 Weekends, $180 for DIY Weekend 

  • No Contract Term: $200 for DIY Weekend 

Holiday Rates, Contracted Merchants

Black Friday through Christmas Eve

  • Contract Term: 24 Weekends, $180/Weekend, Holiday Weekdays: Free

  • Contract Term: 12 Weekends, $200/Weekend, Holiday Weekdays: Free  

Holiday Rates, event space pop-up shops 

December 16th through Christmas Eve, 2016

  • 9X9 space: $650 
  • Merchants must remain set up from December 16th-December 24th 
  • Applications accepted September 15th through October 15th   
  • May split with one approved artist 
  • Roster announced October 20th

What The Rust Belt provides

  • A clean, empty space
  • Free, secured WIFI for our network of shop owners
  • Electricity
  • Heat or AC
  • Basic overhead lighting
  • Prudential Security with trip fault sensors throughout the building for storage security purposes
  • Ladder*
  • Cart* to help the load-in/load-out process.
  • Tables are available for rental ($10 ea) if they are not in use for an event
  • Website profile for contracted shop owners
  • Access to the shop owner communications facebook group (with contract only)
  • Optional participation in open-shop events outside of market hours. (almost always free of charge with 12 or 24-weekend contract term)
  • Community support of like-minded makers

*Provided on an “as needed” first come, first served basis

What the shop owner provides

  • Seating
  • Display pieces
  • Props for merchandising (boxes, crates, trunks, mannequins, etc.)
  • Power strips or cords
  • Utility items: hammer, nails, wire, etc.*
  • Lighting of any kind beyond the available ceiling-mounted tract-lighting if ambient light is desired. CFL Bulbs only unless otherwise approved
  • Cash (do not expect your neighbors to make change for your customers!)
  • Smartphone or tablet, iPad, etc, for credit processing. Remember the charger and card reader!

*Hanging/mounting must be done with discretion. No tape or glue. Nothing should be adhered to the floor without Rust Belt management approval.

Merchandising and helpful tips

Merchandising is everything! It can make or break your business. You are required to put time, effort, and creativity into your shop & displays. If your set-up does not meet Rust Belt standards, we reserve the right to ask you to make changes or leave. Need help or a constructive opinion? We are here! And so are many other talented Rust Belt shop owners who can inspire and point you in a helpful direction that fits your business aesthetic. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Take advantage of the space! Layer, stage merchandise on multiple levels, use the height of the walls, hang things overhead, go crazy.
  • A table with a table cloth set up is boring. It’s not horrible, but you can do better! Think outside of the box and get creative with props—even if you are confined to a table space. Build layers with trunks, logs, antique chairs, so on.
  • RRR: Reduce, Re-purpose, Recycle! Often, the most intriguing display pieces cost little to no mula. Pallets, antique or retro finds from a rummage sale, some paint and vision can bring your space to life for less than new wares from a fixture or chain store.
  • If you do need traditional fixtures (mannequins, model heads, clothing racks to name a few), Detroit Store Fixture Co. is a great resource. 7545 W 8 Mile Rd, Detroit, MI 48221

What is not allowed in a shop?

  • Plastic table covers
  • Outdoor camp chairs
  • Poster Board signs
  • Tarps
  • Lattice
  • Tulle
  • Slat walls
  • Music: a personal device playing music competes with the market’s music, confuses patrons, and irritates your neighbors.
  • Mini-fridges or space-heaters: without Rust Belt management approval
  • More than 2 people working at one time (crowding leaves little room for customers to shop!)
  • Dirty rugs: While it is our responsibility to clean and mop the commons areas, bathrooms, welcome mats and so on, it’s your responsibility to keep your shop clean. Rugs should be vacuumed at the end of each market day and fresh for patrons.
  • Old garbage: If you have a trash can in your shop, you must empty it each market day, remove all food & beverage containers, and wipe up any spills. Your trash will be documented and you will be fined $25 each time we have to clean it.
  • Unstable fixtures. Broken, taped together or cheap and leaning clothing racks are hazardous and will not be tolerated.
  • Items unrelated to your business and/or application: We’ve coined this phenomenon “The general store evolution.” We encourage shop owners to expand their business by introducing new product lines. Keeping merchandise fresh and interesting is important for building a loyal consumer following. However, a cohesive theme and vision is key. When random tchotchkes start popping up and cluttering a shop, it weakens your concept and often devalues the merchandise you’ve worked so hard to make or collect. These items will be subject to removal at the sole discretion of Rust Belt management.

What is the booking process?

  1. Apply online.  Include dates you are considering. Do not type “Immediately” if you don’t really mean it.
  2. Jury process: Rust Belt management will notify you via email or phone of approval or denial within 3 days. If you do not receive a response, please submit a short follow-up message using our contact form indicating you've recently applied.
  3. Upon approval and confirmation of dates, you will receive an online invoice. Invoices are sent to the email you apply with. Payment=booking. You cannot set up without payment for space.
  4. When your weekend is approaching, you'll receive an email including a market map, your space assignment and specific set-up details.  Again, the email you apply with will be used for all correspondence.

What is the booking process for longer-term* shop owners?

  1. Apply online.  Include a start date and the length of term (12 or 24 weekends) you are considering.
  2. Jury process: Rust Belt management will notify you via email or phone of approval or denial within 3 days. If you do not receive a response, please submit a short follow-up message using our contact form indicating you've recently applied.
  3. Contract and Security Deposit: A signed contract and 100.00 security deposit is required for all 12-week and 24-week lease terms. Security deposit will be refunded upon completion of contract term without damage to the space or Rust Belt property.
  4. Upon approval and confirmation of dates, you will receive an online invoice. Invoices are sent to the email you apply with. Payment=booking. You cannot set up without payment for space.
  5. Putting time, effort, creativity and a little money into building out your space is not only important but expected. We’ll coordinate work days with you to make sure you have adequate time to transform your space into your mini dream-shop.

*We often require a two week trial period prior to accepting a 12 or 24-week contract from new applicants. Two weekends allows for both The Rust Belt and applicant to gauge whether or not a business relationship is fitting and should continue. This period is billed at the weekend rate of 125/wknd.

Attention new applicants

In addition to your application, you may be asked to provide any of the following:

  • Process photos.* Especially important for jewelry artists
  • Fair & Show experience: a list of art fairs or shows you've participated in
  • Photos* of past displays and set-ups or a sketch of your proposed shop

*Photos should be emailed in JPEG format and of good quality. High res photos are not necessary, but blurry photos will not be considered for approval of application.

Work is not viewed in-person without a scheduled appointment.

No online presence?

At least one form of web presence or social media page dedicated to your business is required. Your application will not be considered without at least one of the following: website, etsy shop, facebook page, tumblr, flickr, blog, etc. This shows us you are proud of your work and take your business seriously.

Market saturation

Your application may be denied not due to quality of work but market saturation. We are very mindful to not over-saturate the market with one particular medium or theme. Some business models are simply more popular than others (i.e. Detroit photography, graphic apparel, jewelry, baked goods) and we want to provide patrons with a wide range of goods to enjoy. Just because you are “not threatened” by other artists or collectors with a similar business model, does not mean your application will be approved. This decision will be explained to you and you can ask to be placed on a waiting list if desired. If you have multiple product lines, you may be asked to display those that are not in conflict with established Rust Belt artists. This is common practice for galleries and artist markets.

Should I accept credit cards or operate by cash-only?

This is a personal business decision only you can decide, but offering patrons the option to shop with credit will most likely boost your sales. Take into consideration your price points: If you are selling higher end photography, more traditional art, furniture or couture clothing, credit sales would be the most practical for shoppers. Square is the easiest, fastest way for your small business to start accepting credit cards. If you choose to stick with cash-only, we have an in-house ATM for shoppers to utilize.

When can I set up?

The Rust Belt Market is open for set up every Friday from 10am -2pm and Saturday morning 9am-11am. Special Event & Holiday set-up hours will be emailed privately.  Extended set-up will be discussed and arranged on a case-by-case basis. 

If you are vending both Saturday and Sunday, you may leave your space intact from one day to the next. If you have paid for multiple consecutive weekends (or have a multi- weekend rental contract signed), you may also leave your space intact. For those vending only one day, you MUST tear down immediately and completely following the close of business at 7pm Saturday or 6pm Sunday. Tear down should not take more than an hour, so please plan accordingly. Complete tear down means that all merchandise, display pieces, tables, seating, shelving and all other property has been removed from The Rust Belt Market. In the unlikely case of no-call/no show or repeated lateness/closing early in setting up or tearing down, the business owner may be subject to removal from the market.

Security during open-market events

If we host an event that is open to shop-owners to participate in and you do not wish to open your shop, you must provide security to your space. With the new layout, a gate or curtain would work best and look more professional than sheets covering merchandise. The Rust Belt Market, LLC is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged goods.

Who runs my shop?

All day-to-day business decisions such as staffing, pricing, sales and promotion are handled by each independent business owner and its staff. The Rust Belt Market cannot make sales for you during weekend market or special events. If you are running late, merchandise cannot be sold for you by The Rust Belt Market or your neighbors.

Can I split a space with someone?

You may split a space with a fellow maker or collector upon approval of Rust Belt management.

Mandatory promotion

The Rust Belt Market spends a lot of time and dough each year on promotion and advertising. Through flyers, street promotion, special event participation, posters, rusty bucks, and local media such as television, radio, online publications, magazines, periodicals, newspapers and weekly’s, we are constantly informing the public of what The Rust Belt is and what its unique artists have to offer. We utilize some of the area’s most sought-after graphic designers, letterpress geeks and printing companies to put our best face forward and make a lasting impact. We've also formed a small committee of long-term Rust Belt shop owners who have a vested interest in seeing the market thrive—discussing what more we can do to increase community involvement and foot traffic. A healthy downtown market with dedication to the arts and creative culture makes Ferndale as a whole a more attractive city to play in.

What is expected of Rust Belt Merchants?

As much as we despise a mall comparison, it seems to work here: Think of your business as an independent piece of a larger mall-like operation. It takes each shop-owner working together and promoting the hell out of his business to make the entire market function properly. We are spending time and money on advertising and promotion, and you are expected to as well. You cannot sit back and rely on market management or neighboring shops to bring in customers that will take interest in what you have to offer.

Here’s a small list to help get you started

  • Print business cards and flyers that cater to your special audience.
  • Post upcoming events, sales, special offers and new merchandise on your social media pages
  • Participate in outside events that will potentially bring in more customers
  • Reach out to communities that may not know what The Rust Belt is
  • Cross promote with other artist markets you belong to
  • Contact local media. Take advantage of free publicity and don’t be afraid to give interviews.
  • Don’t skimp on design! Update your logo if it is out-of-date, of inferior quality or no longer represents what your business has grown into. (We have artists at the market that can help you!) Spending a little money upfront to hire an experienced graphic designer will help polish your business and set you apart from people passing out generic business cards with stock ClipArt.
  • Maintain your website and/or blog
  • Use consistent branding
  • Consider placing an ad in a weekly or pooling resources with fellow shop owners to purchase a multi-vendor ad
  • Plan a public event in The Rust Belt event space! If you donate your time, we will donate the space and a portion of the proceeds.