New Vernon Christmas market employs marginalized population

Vernon’s newest Christmas market, the Market at 3023, has partnered with Vernon Entrenched People Against Discrimination (VEPAD). The market will run Nov. 30-Dec. 24, 2019. (Facebook)

A new downtown Vernon pop-up Christmas Market has partnered with VEPAD to hire those experiencing homelessness to work it.

Not only will the new market at 3023 30th Avenue feature dozens of vendors tables featuring local artisans, but it aims to bring the community together and put mental health, wellness and homelessness in the spotlight.

The idea for the community focused Christmas pop-up, the Market at 3023, struck organizer Stephanie Prentice after meeting artisans at the Vernon Community Arts Centre and learning they had a need for affordable venues to sell their works.

“I wanted to create something that local start-ups and artists would be able to make some money at, but then it morphed into so much more,” Prentice said.

So the Market at 3023 partnered with Vernon Entrenched People Against Discrimination (VEPAD) — a group made up of marginalized people — to help educate the public and show the community that not all marginalized people are the same.

“In my own life, I’m very community and service oriented,” Prentice said. “And with all of this stuff with the marginalized population, I wanted to see if there was something (an idea) there.”

The market will not only create an opportunity for generating income for a vulnerable population, Prentice said, “but here’s an opportunity where they will be serving in the lounge where they can connect with the public.”

“They’re just like everybody else,” she said. “They have great personalities.”

Two counsellors, with backgrounds in mental health and addictions, from Sangfroid Intervention will be on hand Wednesdays to provide sessions at no cost for both VEPAD group members and the public.

“It’s difficult to find good help, even if you have money,” Prentice said. “This will be a great opportunity to have a chance to talk to these people without having to pay for a session.”

A strict code of conduct is in place for members from VEPAD, similar to any employment contract. Employees must behave accordingly, not participate in drug or alcohol use, have a desire to contribute and willingness to work, but above all else, Prentice said honesty is the No. 1 priority.

“If the trust is gone, the opportunity follows,” she said.

Ahead of the market’s opening on Nov. 30, the group of entrenched people working with Prentice is being treated to some makeovers and pampering. Samantha Calder of the Colour Room is offering women hair makeovers, Lori Anderson of North Okanagan Skin and Laser is offering facials and James McKay of the Company Barbershop is offering shaves and hair cuts.

Hi Pro is providing the group with printed sweaters to be worn as part of their uniform for the month, Prentice added, and Sareena Nickoli from Soul Studio has put together a team-building class to support health in wellness in the workplace.

The space, furnished courtesy of City Furniture, Kemper and Sons Artisan Millworks, features a select menu put together by Teassential, Prentice said, and half the proceeds from food items will be donated to VEPAD.

“This initiative has been a labour of love and not something that I set out to make money from,” Prentice said. “We have been blessed to have the support of so many businesses and community members.”

“We have an awesome group of vendors coming in each day and I think it’s going to be a really great vibe.”

The Market at 3023 is also raising funds to support the Community Arts Centre through raffle prizes and businesses looking to donate items to be raffled off can learn more by connecting on social media or emailing

The Market at 3023 will be open Nov. 30-Dec. 24, 2019.

The market will first open its doors Nov. 30, 4-8 p.m. and regular December hours will be Monday-Thursday 10-6 p.m.; Friday 10-8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10-5 p.m. On Dec. 23-24, the market will be open from 10-4 p.m.

READ MORE: Knox Mountain area residents hold protest over homeless camp move

READ MORE: Armstrong lights up for Christmas


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon shops like Expressions of Time have shown their strength, resiliency and adaptability amid the COVID-19 crisis. (Facebook)
COLUMN: A toast to small businesses in Vernon

Show local business some love this Small Business Week

File Photo.
BOOMER TALK: Talking back

Columnist Carole Fawcett responds to feedback over ‘Are you Sheeple?’ column

The Brown Derby’s Mysterioso was one of three entries in the 2020 Armstrong Professional Grilled Cheese Sandwich competition held Tuesday, Oct. 20. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Bakery gets judges’ attention in Armstrong pro grilled cheese sandwich event

Country Bakery’s German Kase Pretzel Grilled Cheese oozes past Brown Derby, Wild Oak Café

A power outage caused by a vehicle crash affected 2,178 BC Hydro customers in Enderby Wednesday night, Oct. 21, 2020. (BC Hydro image)
Vehicle crash in Enderby knocks out power for more than 2,000

BC Hydro crews are expected to arrive by 6:30 p.m.

Ahead of the provincial election on Oct. 24, Enderby residents put their questions to the Shuswap riding’s three candidates: Greg Kyllo for the BC Liberal Party, Sylvia Lindgren for the BC NDP and Owen Madden for the BC Green Party. The candidates recorded their answers in videos distributed by the Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce. (Salmon Arm Observer image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Shuswap candidates answer Enderby’s top election questions

The candidates submitted video responses for an all-candidates forum ahead of the Oct. 24 election

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau is seen as she leaves media event during a campaign stop in West Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green leader hopes voters see value in minority government

The Greens received nearly 17 per cent of the popular vote in 2017 yet received just three seats

Local candidates Pam Alexis, Abbotsford-Mission, and Preet Rai, Abbotsford-West, look on as NDP Leader John Horgan main streets in Abbotsford, B.C., Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. NDP takes snap election risk during pandemic in quest for majority government

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said the election was unnecessary and irresponsible during the pandemic

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, B.C., on October 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. Liberal Leader maintains confidence as campaign tests party identity

Liberal campaign has been disrupted by controversy

(Kelowna Capital News)
B.C. Labour Board orders Peachland cannabis company to reinstate laid-off employees

The B.C. Labour Relations Board determined the employees were laid off due to their plan to unionize

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Two pigs roam the Salmon Arm Walmart parking lot during a prior visit photographed by Danielle Burgi. (Danielle Burgi photo)
Pigs trot over for a visit at Salmon Arm shopping centre

Employees say this was the second drop-in from the temporarily free-range porkers

Most Read