Wildcat Market set to reopen

Chelsea Birdsall

Under the leadership of graduate student and ASNMU graduate studies representative Alex Nye, the Wildcat Market, an open market for students and faculty to sell their homemade goods to the public, will be in the University Center across from the bookstore again starting Thursday, Oct. 23.

According to Nye, the Wildcat Market originated in the Center for Student Enrichment (CSE) in 2010 when a grant was given to the school for the event. It ended up only being marketed as an entrepreneurship opportunity and failed after one year.

Nye heard a need and a want to bring the market back after CSE discontinued it. He picked it up as his community service internship for the Student Leader Fellowship Program and removed the fee and class that was required to sell.

When Nye first took the project from CSE, Dave Bonsall, the former director of CSE, acted as the internship supervisor. Bonsall, who has since retired from the university but still remains active on campus, said he thinks the experience is worthwhile.

“Students marketing their goods and materials benefit from a very valuable active learning experience in entrepreneurship,” Bonsall said. “I enjoyed seeing the satisfaction students had when their booths were successful.”

Last year, Nye stepped down from the project and the fee was reinstated. This year, Nye took back the Wildcat Market as a part of his ASNMU project and removed the fee.

This year, the Wildcat Market will be open from noon until 3 p.m. every Thursday, unlike in the past when it took place on Fridays.

Nye said he’s really excited the day was moved to during the week when people still have classes.

“The University Center isn’t super populated on Fridays,” Nye said. “Thursday, there’s a little more energy in the building and quite a few more people come through there with payday and being right by the bank.”

As director of auxiliary, Thomas Helgren provides the space in the University Center as well as the tables for the vendors. According to Nye, there are more starting sellers than he has seen in years prior.

Right now, eight tables are being provided but if expansion were to happen, Helgren would accommodate.

“We want to see the student’s events grow,” Helgren said. “It brings additional traffic into the building. What’s unique about this area is not only do we get students but we get community members that come in for Wells Fargo or come in for the post office in the Bookstore.”

Ashley Welser, a 2014 NMU graduate, sold at the market last year. She said she saw how the market benefited sellers and buyers. Welser said she felt as though the interactions she had with her customers were more valuable in person.

The market also connected her to other creative peers and provided her with extra spending money, Welser said.

“I really think the Wildcat Market helps to create a stronger connection to NMU as well as because it provides a great setting to be social, have fun and get to know the local community,” Welser said.

For questions or interest in the Wildcat Market, contact Alex Nye through the ASNMU office in room 1203 in the University Center.