When Kelley Rajala set out to create a one-stop shop for locally made crafts three years ago, she did so with relatively small beginnings — 35 artists and a 400-square-foot space in downtown Santa Rosa.
Now, Made Local Marketplace has tripled in size and works with more than 350 vendors. On Monday, it held a reception to celebrate its expansion and kick off what Rajala hopes will be a particularly successful holiday shopping season.
Interest in buying locally is growing, especially for the holidays, said Terry Garrett, a managing member of the Go Local Cooperative, which runs a county-wide marketing campaign to encourage people to support locally owned businesses.
Made Local Marketplace
To illustrate this trend, Garrett pointed to Oliver's Market, which focuses on selling regional goods. Go Local tracked sales at Oliver's over the last three years and found that sales of locally made goods increased at twice the rate of products from outside the area, he said.
"Interest is really high in 'go local' right now and we're going to test it this holiday season," he said.
Rajala helped found the cooperative about five years ago but left to start the Made Local Marketplace as well as a shared work space for fledgling companies. The endeavor is a "way to make purchasing local very tangible," she said.
Made Local Maketplace runs as a flexible purpose corporation, a new type of business that operates both to make profit and create a social benefit, in this case, encouraging more local business. Rajala said she started Made Local Marketplace with her own money and that the goal is for the marketplace to sustain itself.
The business, at 531 Fifth St., is just a block away from what could be considered serious competition — Santa Rosa Plaza mall. But Rajala doesn't view it that way.
"I don't really see the mall as competition," she said. "We're a place where people shop based on values."
Rachel Ede, a Petaluma resident who works in Santa Rosa, was browsing in the children's section around lunch time Monday.