The Artisan Godfather strikes again with The Village Market

Most of us only know farmers markets as consumers. A Sunday morning spent seeing the stalls, a quick chat with people who grow our food, a bagel here, a fresh coffee there, the scent of baked bread in the air – if you grew up around it, this is what you look forward to on the weekends. But for musicians, artists, farmers, and small businesses, markets are a way to put food on the table for the week. Laurie Sanders, the creator of the The Village Market in Lower Hutt, wants to preserve this tradition.

Before creating the market, Laurie had spent 40 years building a lawnmowing turned timber-manufacturing business called Sanders Premiere. After selling Sanders Premier,  Laurie was looking at industrial land in Mangere, Auckland to set up a cargo container village that small business people could find their footing in.

“In the meantime, we decided we didn’t need to live in Auckland and shifted to Petone, in Lower Hutt,” Laurie said. “I spotted the old Transfield site on a weekend visit and just knew it was meant to be.”

Laurie settled into Wellington and realised a vibrant farmer’s market was desperately needed the Wellington region. There are other markets, but they only sell fresh fruit and vegetables. There is no iconic market that caters to the needs of Wellingtonians.

Residents in the area have been friendly, helpful, and encouraging, especially the Hutt City Council staff, he said.

“The biggest pain for us has been getting rid of surplus pallets,” Laurie says.

“We are giving them away – that’s making people very happy.”

The Village Market has been designed as a nursery for small businesses, a location where the consumer and the vendor can meet, discuss products, and get to know each other. Networking is for old men and antidotes. Laurie has built a place where conversations happen.

“Creative people need customers and other artists to interact with hence, the Artisan Hub,” Laurie said.

“My title is The Artisan Godfather.”

“I will encourage and help anyone, anywhere to develop this great city and country.”

The Village Market is at 46 Wainui Road in Lower Hutt. 

It’s a full weekend market opening this weekend from 9-3pm on Saturday and Sunday.

On the following weekend, a night market opens from 3-11pm on Friday as well. 

Visit thevillagemarket.co.nz for more details.

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