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MARION — A business in Marion plans to hold its own markets this year on the same dates as the Chamber of Commerce's Uptown Marion Markets.
DKW Gallery owners Deb and Mark Weiser say the markets will offer more options for Marion marketgoers to browse and buy from.
DKW's market will be held on same dates and times as the Uptown Marion Market. The markets are scheduled June 12, July 10, Aug. 14 and Sept. 25.
'Instead of just 15 booths at one event, now there's 30 booths those days,' Mark Weiser said.
'We don't see it as a rival event. By having the event at the same time, it means it could be a draw to bring people from Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha and Mount Vernon.'
The gallery owners aren't strangers to hosting an event during the pandemic. Last September, DKW Gallery, 840 Seventh Ave., held an art show in the parking lots of its business and New York Gyro.
'That was phenomenal,' Weiser said. 'With the pandemic, every show, every exhibit was canceled. We got to talking with some of the artists and said, 'Let's have a COVID-safe event.' '
So when the Weisers saw the notice for the Uptown Marion Market, they decided to hold one of their own.
'We know it's been popular, and we know people have been depressed this last year,' Weiser said.
'We're not making this an art show. If we have room and if there are artists that want to join, that's fine. But we're going to limit it to homegrown/homemade vendors first.'
Weiser said the DKW market plans to follow the criteria of the Uptown Marion Market. He said the market will require masks for vendors, and mask wearing will be strongly requested of attendees.
'We're looking for produce, farm items and homemade items: cookies, jam, along that line,' Weiser said. 'In the past year, people have lost their jobs and businesses have closed, so people might be depending on things like this more than they ever have before.'
Interested vendors can contact the Weisers through dkwgallery.com.
DKW Gallery has been open for six years in Marion. Weiser said the business had a record year in 2019, but 2020 was not so kind to the gallery.
'We lost about 80 percent' of business, Weiser said. 'But we're coming back.'
The business also just reopened this year after Weiser recovered from COVID-19.
'We've been open again for a few weeks now, and we are seeing the business come back,' he said.
'People are anxious to get outside after all this cold weather. Our classes are seeing an upsurge, and our walk-in traffic and art sales have been increasing as well. We are really encouraged.'
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