The Good Vibe Tribe
Seaglass Salvage Market has had to take a forced break, but owner Kelli Benton and her 40-plus vendors are remaining positive.
When Kelli Benton looks back on the start of her Seaglass Salvage Market in 2014, she has a plethora of wonderful memories to pull from. It has been quite a journey from the start of her Meet the Maker market up until recently when she recently added a second building to accommodate her 40-plus vendors. I sat down (on the phone — you know, social distancing) with her, and she shared her story with me.
Originally from New York City, Benton worked for FedEx and was transferred to Leland in 2008. Here she met her husband Brad. After she changed jobs and worked in the retail industry, Benton began to ponder how she could create a location where local artisans, craftspeople, makers, growers and bakers could showcase their homemade creations. After finding a location just west of Leland on Highway 74/76, she made the big leap, and in 2014 started her own business.
“My goal was to create not only a once-a-month indoor/outdoor market, but also a unique shopping experience,” she says.
With vendors who create, produce or grow their own products, customers have the rare ability to learn everything about the items they are considering to purchase. Many customers have forged friendships with vendors who readily describe how they make their products. In addition, the market features quality painted, new and used furniture, pottery, beautiful home decor and accessories including soy candles and original art, vintage items and salvage pieces for do-it-yourself projects.
The market is held on the third weekend of each month. “We want to be a destination, an event for people to look forward to,” Benton says. “It creates anticipation for the customers and gives the makers an opportunity to keep up with having a full inventory.”
As the years have passed, the number of vendors has grown and so has the camaraderie between them.
“We refer to ourselves as the Good Vibe Tribe,” Benton says. “We look forward to seeing each other and have become like a big family.
In addition to the new second building, they also have outdoor vendors who change monthly. For hungry customers they offer produce, homemade treats, truffles and food trucks.
Because of COVID-19 Benton had to cancel the March and April markets. But that didn’t stop the Good Vibe Tribe. On those weekends they had a virtual pop-up market and offered curb side pick-up. Benton even has Zoom meetings with her vendors to stay in contact and stay positive about the future.
“I feel an extra responsibility because not only am I trying to save my business, but also I have 40 other small businesses that are depending on me to stay open. My hope is to have an event in May,” Benton says.
Benton shares some interesting insight about our country’s current situation that made me stop and think for a minute . . . and to my surprise, I found that I agree with her.
“We have all had to slow down quite a bit due to the social distancing and shelter at home guidelines. Because of this I think it has given us a perspective on life that we were unable to see before. And that is an appreciation for being busy!”
At first, I thought to myself, no way would I take the crowds, traffic and tight schedule over a slow-paced, quiet and sometimes lonely existence. But then it hit me immediately — “YES I WOULD!” It has certainly helped me to realize how important the element of personal human interaction is for all of us.
Benton continues, “In these trying times, we have to shift our mindset and focus on a different set of priorities. My goal during this time is to stay relevant in our followers’ news feeds, to help our vendors share their websites and groups, to remind people to be kind and possibly share a smile or two. Let’s all stay afloat and stay connected so we can thrive when this is over.”
The power of positive thinking can go a very long way in our world. I am looking forward to the next sunny weekend we can gather together at the Seaglass Salvage Market to laugh and enjoy each other’s company again! See you there!
Seaglass Salvage Market
1987 Andrew Jackson Highway
Leland NC 28451