The Market Place sees revitalization with new ownership

Published 9:03 am Monday, April 8, 2019

NILES — Erin Douglass, of Niles, has always liked making something new out of something old.

As an entrepreneurial business vendor, she has helped to bring life to old furniture by repurposing it with a modern touch or restored vintage items to their former glory. So, when she became the new owner of The Market Place seven months ago, her goal was along the same lines. 

“My vision was to create a warm environment,” Douglass said. “There was not much store décor [before], and this has kind of been something I’ve always wanted to do, and then the opportunity came up.”

Step inside The Market Place, 2428 S. 11th St. today, and one is apt to want to explore. It is here where bargain and treasure hunters alike can find roughly 75 vendors, peddling everything from antiques and vintage items to clothing, purses and jewelry, toys and music to handmade wares, like signs and mementos — all organized into individual sections.

After selling her wares as a vendor inside The Market Place, Douglass began working at the shop a couple of days a week. Then, she heard that former owner Cindy Gonzales was thinking about selling the business.

“I couldn’t get it out of my mind,” Douglass said.

Douglass and her husband, Paul, decided to take the opportunity to transform the business. Since then, Douglass said helping the company grow has been her passion, and she has aimed to offer customers a vast selection of vendors and affordable prices. While Douglass remains humble about what she did to improve the business, other vendors were quick to see the change.

Vendor Jill Chamberlain expressed her pride in Douglass’ work.

“This is her first business. She went from employee to owner,” Chamberlain said. “And may I add, the business is thriving.”

Douglass said she had noticed an uptick in vendor participation since her ownership. She said the business is currently at vendor capacity and there is an ongoing waiting list for those interested.

For Douglass, one of the most significant benefits in operating the business is giving local vendors a place to connect with customers.   

“When you come in here and shop, you’re supporting [almost] 80 people that live in the community,” Douglass said.

Douglass said she also likes helping customers find things that can bring them joy and spark nostalgia. She said the vendors at The Market Place hone their craft by hand selecting or handcrafting the items they sell, frequently making them particularly unique to customers.

“You can find anything [here],” Douglass said. “These are all things that [vendors] hunt down and take the time to find [to be able] to offer old things, new things. I think that’s what’s most special about it. It’s so many different people, and we all work together to create this place where you can find whatever you are looking for.”

The Market Place is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Sunday. Those wishing to learn more about the business can visit the business’ Facebook page.