Monmouth University held its sixth annual Made in Monmouth event in the OceanFirst Bank Center on April 8 with over 200 local vendors.
Made in Monmouth is a seven hour, free admission event open to the public organized by the Grow Monmouth Team within the County’s Division of Economic Development.
The event is sponsored by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders in partnership with Monmouth University. Monmouth describes their event as, “a free event for both vendors and visitors; its purpose is to encourage people to shop local.”
The event’s purpose is to gather different local vendors like Delicious Orchards and Booskerdoo Coffee and Baking Co., who set up tables at no charge to sell their products.
The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties was also in attendance and encouraged shoppers to bring along donations of nonperishable food items to support the local food bank.
Michael Chattalas, a professor of marketing and international business, said, “‘Made in Monmouth’ offers a unique marketplace that, by showcasing local crafts and entrepreneurs, promotes the Monmouth ‘place brand’ as well as community and belonging.”
According to their press release, published on April 5, “Thousands of people attend the previous events which showcased jewelry, pretzels, orchids, surfboards, handmade glass, honey, cosmetics, flags, chocolate, tea and much more.”
Upon arriving at the event, there is a team of greeters who welcome shoppers.
They send them off to a variety of vendors with a vendor directory in hand, complete with the names, short description, and contact information of every vendor at the event. The shoppers also receive a free reusable bag to carry any of their purchases.
Vendor tables were set up on the first and second floor of the OceanFirst Bank Center where shoppers could peruse or even try free samples of products.
Senior communication student, Brianna Merriman had a table set up for the launch of her new company, The Love Your Neighbor Project. Merriman said, “[My business is] a new brand that is aiming to spread positivity and love through whatever means necessary. First we start off by selling original artwork prints done by me.”
Her table was decorated with original artwork she had done and a board that she asked shoppers to write on saying how they “helped their neighbor.” Any money that she makes in sales, she gives back 10 percent to those in need. Merriman said, “The really great thing about The Love Your Neighbor Project is that we are going to always donate a portion of our proceeds back to a great cause. The first project we’re working with is the Missions Beyond Borders Organization which works with kids in Nicaragua.”
Jackie Rizzo, a Monmouth County local, set up her table for her fourth year at Made in Monmouth with her handmade jewelry business, Artistic Layers.
Being a veteran to this event, she’s watched crowds grow and more vendors attend each year. She said, “I came to this the first year that it happened and there weren’t many people here. There were a few tables and only the upstairs level was open to vendors and that wasn’t even full,” Rizzo said.
Sarah Lewis, a senior English student, said, “We’ve gone every year and always look forward to it. There are so many vendors with such a huge variety of items. But the beach vendors are always my favorite- they have such cute jewelry.”
Those who could not attend the event are encouraged by the Grow Monmouth Team to view the vendor directory that provides websites, store front locations, and contact information on local vendors who attended.
PHOTO TAKEN by Amanda Drennan