Wildcat Market offers venue for student entrepreneurs

Lucy Hough

Creative students who make sellable goods have an opportunity to become entrepreneurs on campus.

The Wildcat Market is an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and community members to purchase products made from fellow NMU students.

The market will be open from noon to 3 p.m. each Thursday, outside of the NMU Bookstore in the University Center starting Thursday, Oct. 18.

Sellers will have goods available ranging from jewelry to stuffed animal monsters to baked goods.

“Everyone should attend the market at least once to see if it is something that they are interested in,” said Alex Nye, a senior writing major and college of arts and sciences representative of ASNMU. “They may never know what is being sold here and could find the perfect gift for their family, loved ones, and friends. It can also inspire people to create their own product and be selling here at the market the following week.”

The market is partially being run through ASNMU, but also as a part of Nye and junior elementary education major Brittany Voich’s Student Leader Fellowship Program efforts.

“The Wildcat Market is important to me because it is a program that Alex and I are very passionate about and we have worked hard to get it back up and running,” Voich said.

This Wildcat Market is not new to NMU. The market was on campus in 2010, run by the Center for Student Enrichment.

Nye was a patron of the market then and said he wanted to see the project succeed. To hopefully encourage sellers to participate, there is no deposit for sellers and no mandatory meeting before being allowed to sell.

“I also want there to be a place on campus that has student activity, a buzz of sorts, and I feel like the Wildcat Market could create that for a few hours every Thursday this fall,” Nye said. “I want a place on campus to feel like a student union.”

The cost to operate the market is less than $400, according to Nye. Much of this amount will be spent toward advertising and promoting the program.

Other operation costs include renting the space and ten tables each week, but that was donated by Tom Helgren, who operates the University Center.

Nye said there are seven or eight sellers lined up for the first week. He and others operating the market are hoping for more sellers before the opening day.

“(Director of the Center for Student Enrichment) Dave Bonsall told me that a school in Florida has been running an outdoor market like this for some time now,” Nye said. “It is so large now that they have hundreds of sellers and thousands of visitors at their market. It would be incredible if we could strive for that someday.”

Among the over six students already planning to participate in the Wildcat Market is senior communications major Amber Lopota.

Lopota is on ASNMU with Voich and Nye, and she will be selling Murano-style glass pendant necklaces and occasionally some baked goods.

“I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, finding ways to make ends meet is a skill everyone should devote some time to developing,” Lopota said.

Students who are interested in participating can email Nye at [email protected] or Voich at [email protected].