Street Vendor Girl

I was the lone vendor at the First Friday Art Walk by SOAP Gallery in downtown Youngstown last night. That’s okay… check out the Big Nasty (local jazz band) up on the loading dock behind me (photos snapped before the crowds arrived):



So, I was there at the entrance hawking handmade jewelry, buttons, and small art (mostly drawings matted 5×7 ready to frame) with my rolled onto site “itinerant retailer” set-up… so it’s not exactly proper for upscale art or craft shows that require “professional displays” in white tents and table covers that drop to the floor, &c… but, oh well… I’m more of a street vendor girl.

It was a good night… sold some jewelry, a few buttons, and a couple pieces of art while listening to a cool band play lively jazz on a beautiful night while “Celebrate Youngstown” opened in SOAP Gallery. It was a great night for doing a gallery hop or wandering around downtown as there were other openings and events at several different venues.

Hopefully, next month’s First Friday Art Walk will attract more vendors.

Well… I’m out of coffee, got to walk… thanks for reading!


Living DoYo

I love living in DoYo, which is short for right smack downtown Youngstown, Ohio. There is always something new or interesting going on, even when it is not festival season. Saturday, I went to a comedy show at the M Gallery. That was fun. This Tuesday (tonight) is a poetry reading at the Pig Iron Press and then next Tuesday is the first Open Mic night at the M.

My only complaint about living in DoYo is the lack of retail stores. It is pretty bad when you have to hop a bus to go buy common things like paper and ink pens.

We need a grocery store. The Circle store sells basic groceries and household goods (milk, eggs, bread, dish soap, &c.) but you’re paying convenience store prices. I would love to see a bakery, maybe a meat market or deli, something with fresh fruits and product, if not a fully stocked store.

Gift shops would be nice, perhaps a Maker’s Market of some kind, like little mini shops sharing a storefront space, where you could buy candles, soaps, and a variety of other handmade items.

They are opening “Youngstown Flea” this summer downtown here, but the name is a bit misleading as it will be an outdoor art and maker’s market each month, not a “flea” market. They are vetting vendors through an application process. I understand the need to control the vibe, to limit what is allowed to be sold, so you have to list what you plan to sell (and only sell what you list) and submit photos and links so they can check you out and decide if you will be a good fit, limit types of items to ensure good variety, &c.

I have issues with excessive control, but thought about applying. Then I remembered how often I got rained on (or rained out) last year when I tried doing outdoor events. And straight up, I think the fees are too high for my low end items… I never count on selling art as art sales are unpredictable. That’s why I make buttons and little trinkets; sometimes dollar items are the only things that sell.

Why is it that anything to do with selling art or handmade things comes with high fees?

For $15 or less, I can set up at a real flea market with thousands of people wandering by… if it is an art or craft show, fees start at 25, the Youngstown Flea wants 50 for a one day outdoor spot (rain or shine), and some places want way up in the hundreds.

I would like to see an “itinerant row” in DoYo… street vendors set up in the same locale, same days, same times. An itinerant retailer’s permit is only 50 a month, or 150 for an entire year.

Words to the wind:  I want my own little store, an indoor place to sell whatever I want (art, buttons, handmade things, whatever) with no application or vetting process required so the only “permission” I need is from my own self  and whatever applicable laws may apply.

Thanks for reading.


Rats in DoYo

Feeding Rats on B Street

Dragged from sleep by
Queen Nic, feet hit the floor,
I’m up and out the door.
Gave too many cigs away
Ran out myself on Sunday.

Hit the ATM on Market.
Rooted pencils for a stub,
a little graphite nub
to mark the same numbers
rarely played since 1987.

They might roll someday,
maybe not,
never have yet.
Waste of buck
for no luck
Tossed down on a bet.

Hey Jack of Snacks,
hit me with some Blues
as I fix my brew.
Oh, mystery donuts?
Sweets obscured from view
gift wrapped in white paper.

I pick a clue:
“Cake, Icing, Coconut”
He hides my cigarettes
in brown paper.

I wait for a break
before crossing the street
and little city birds
land by my feet.
As if to say hello.

The courtyard is shaded
in a dark shadow flight
from Insanity Towers
in the cold morning light.
Torn bread and crumbs
are scattered on bricks
Sometimes I wonder
what makes people tick.

Day people don’t know
what goes on in moon light
when the rats come out
to feed in the night.

The birds do not eat
all the bread that they toss.
And they don’t eat pizza
or pasta with sauce.
They may pick at bones
and other things dropped
but come on people,
this must be stopped.

I head for the sunlight,
walk on up B Street
to a bench on the corner
to savor my treat.

On past Rat Wall
so named for a reason
as Hub rats run and jump
into landscape regions.
It is not safe to sit there
at night in all seasons.

So catty corner from
the Harshman building
where a bench offer rest
and traffic is yielding,
I unwrap the mystery,
a surprise to see
orange tinted coconut
on a iced white donut
of soft yellow cake.

I take a bite
and drop a flake.

I’m as guilty as the next
of feeding rats on B Street
even picking up my scraps
off bricks and concrete.
For it is the two legged kind
that try to feed off me
with a smile and a please
but too often too much
can make a warm heart freeze.

Hey Lady?
Got a dollar?
Can you spare a smoke?
Got fifteen cents?
Only need a nickel.

I’m out of cash.
Pick up your trash.

©2015 Nancy Barnes

One down on E. Federal St. in DoYo

Serious folks, stop dropping edibles on our city streets and sidewalks when you come downtown to work or party as all you are doing is feeding the rats that roam after you all go home.

Poem reposted from my blogger blog; also available in print as a mini-chapbook.

Thanks for reading… N.