Ever since moving to Las Vegas, I sought out to find a gathering of small business owners and generally anyone who is side hustling in some sort of way. With Vegas having a stigma and allure of being the Sin City to satisfy your vices, I want to remind visitors (and myself from time to time) that it also is an actual place with actual people. This year I have become more invested in how I spend my time. I have been freelancing much more than actually going to my “day job”, which graciously allows me to work as part time as I want. So, with various copywriting projects filling my time, I thought what better way to ignite my right brain then to seek out the passion projects of Las Vegas and unveil some buried inspiration.
After a few years of exploring places I would normally go to “get out of the house” I stumbled upon a daytime event this past January. On a random Sunday I went to Market In The Alley in downtown Fremont across the street from the abandoned Fergusons Motel, which has been a vacant space for many years, except for the Burning Man Big Rig Jig sculpture towering above the desolation.
Big Rig Jig at Fergusons
I’m not familiar with the ownership of Fergusons Motel, but I know with the investment of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, many of the spaces in the Fremont East neighborhood have been revitalized.
Now, the downtown Fergusons is a bustling hub in the making. It has finally undergone a major makeover to become a co-working space for various workshops, boutique hotel rooms, main offices for Market In the Alley and other downtown businesses. At the last Market I wandered over to take a look at the progress and there are few units already in operation, like the new Hatsumi Japanese Restaurant and a space proposed for a coffee shop.
Photo: Fergusons Downtown on Instagram
The Downtown Fergusons collective also started a monthly event in the evenings that focuses on tasty libations: alcoholic and non-alcoholic called Pour in the Alley.
The Pour in the Alley event is usually during the week before the next Market, which occurs every third Sunday. In the past they have had tasting events focused on tequila, coffee and most recently, mezcal. Next month’s will be rum focused. For future Pour in the Alley events peep the Fergusons Downtown Pour in the Alley Calendar.
Big Rig Jig on a stormy Market In the Alley in February
Vulnerable moment PSA: The first time I went to Market In the Alley, I was feeling pretty down and out after getting into a car accident the week prior. I really needed to GET OUT and be around people doing cool things: making, creating, moving on, working towards their goals, instead wallowing in the event that had just occurred. I’m so happy I did, because not only was it a distraction, but it ignited something in me to keep going and keep brainstorming ideas on how to resolve the situation. And walking through the Alley is inspiring…
Myself and friends taken at the January Market by Christopher Matlock
So, with friends from work we have made Market Sundays a regular day date. Each time we go, I always meet a new person who wants to collaborate; whether it’s cosmetology, photography, music or film production. This area is full of creatives that are wandering around looking for their next inspiration. This is what makes the wheel turn: a community of individuals that hustle for their dreams and aren’t afraid of collaborating for free.
My hairstylist I now see, I met her twice at the market! Once at the January market and then at the February one; it was fate. She coaxed me into getting a fresh look from her along with makeup for a photo and video shoot. Out of that one collaboration, I now know a Vegas based fashion stylist, hairstylist, makeup artist and photographer. And we all have regular Market Sunday meet ups.
Myself and Amber at April’s Market in front of the mobile Burnt Boutique.
As for the event vendors, there are always so many. It’s hard to list my favorites. Vendors change monthly depending on if they can snag a booth in time before the deadline or if the event sells out. A few lovely vendors I frequent have been there regularly and always have an assortment of their own goods: from vintage wrestling tees, jewelry, coffee, organic home products, and so much more.
Each month I feel like there are more vendors than the last. Market in the Alley is definitely growing in popularity and it’s fun for everyone. There is always a rotation of live music outside nestled in the middle of the Market greens. The Bunkhouse Saloon has drink specials all day, plenty of food trucks to satisfy every different diet, coffee, animal adoption and morning yoga some days. As we move into the ‘hotter than hell’ of desert summers, Market in the Alley will most likely transition into a Night Market.
Hope this helps anyone in Las Vegas, visiting or stationary, that is looking for another way to socialize, take in the local scene or get those creative juices flowing… ✌️
Ever since I went in January I have gone every month this year. It’s once a month every third Sunday and always has a different theme and many repeat vendors. New vendors have the opportunity to showcase their work by simply applying for a booth space before the next month’s market. It’sgro