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Shop Local (In Person): San Diego Artisans Host Outdoor Market in La Mesa

San Diego Made – a collective of local artisans – has taken its shopping events virtual during the pandemic

San Diego Made

A group of San Diego artisans is hosting an outdoor market this weekend in La Mesa – the first time they’ve been able to gather in-person rather than virtually in a while.

The San Diego Made Summer Market will take place on Saturday and Sunday – from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day – in the parking lot of Grossmont Center shopping mall in La Mesa.

The event is organized by San Diego Made, a collective of makers and artisans known for their unique goods that are handmade in America’s Finest City.

Back in December 2020, the group had planned to host its annual holiday market in-person, also at Grossmont Center. But the coronavirus pandemic – and a shift to another stay-at-home order and much tighter COVID-19 safety restrictions in San Diego County – left organizers having to take the market into virtual mode.

Today, with San Diego County in the orange tier and pandemic-era restrictions loosening, this edition of the San Diego Made market will happen in person.

Organizers said the outdoor market will feature about 60 local vendors selling everything from art, jewelry, and clothing to homemade food and beverages, housewares and body/wellness products.

Vendors and shoppers will have to follow coronavirus safety guidelines like practicing proper social distance and wearing face masks.

The theme of the market this time is 1960s and 1970s – taking it way back, way before the pandemic was even a thing. The weekend event includes live bands and live art installations, too. Shoppers can come in their funkiest threads, if they so choose.

The mission of San Diego Made is to increase awareness and opportunities for local artisans, in part, through markets like these held several times throughout the year.

Co-founder Kristin Dinnis told NBC 7 last December that for many small vendors, these markets are great opportunities to connect with the community and sell their items.

But in the year of the pandemic, in-person markets haven’t always been possible.

But these are artists, Dinnis said. They find ways to press on, no matter what.

Dinnis said last year that the spirit of San Diego’s small markers and artisans remains strong, resilient and – most importantly – creative.

“As far back in history – you know, the Great Depression or any time in history when the economy is going down – it seems to give artists an opportunity to thrive,” Dinnis told NBC 7. “I’m not really sure the reason why, but for the most part, it’s been inspiring for people to find creative ways to work together.”

San Diego Made was founded in 2014 by Dinnis and other local artists, craftsmen, and makers who were inspired to create a united coalition of artisans in America’s Finest City.

The collective offers a monthly membership to local artisans looking to network and build their brands, but Dinnis said about half of San Diego Made’s memberships were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Still, membership or no membership, Dinnis said San Diego Made is committed to helping local artisans get themselves out there.

San Diego Made runs a factory on Commercial Street, just east of Interstate 5. Artists can rent out their own studios or office space there, all under COVID-19 safety guidelines.

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