Summer Market opens tomorrow June 1 and runs through June 11, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm daily, including weekends. Check out MarketPlace Hershey on Facebook for merchandise teasers.
Hidden in the back of a seemingly corporate-looking brick building at 250 West Chocolate Ave. is a treasure among treasures for those searching for the perfect gift. Walk around back and you’ll find MarketPlace, owned by Patti Santangelo and open just four times a year, to coincide with the seasons. Marketplace sells accessories such as purses, scarves and jewelry, but also some unique home goods and funky pet products.
In a previous incarnation, MarketPlace was called MarketPlace Gourmet and was housed in the complex with the CocoaPlex theatres and Jo Jo’s. Its focus was more on food and kitchen items than the current line of accessories. While operating MarketPlace Gourmet, Santangelo experimented with a “pop-up” accessories boutique at the Hilton three times a year where she’d set up shop inside the hotel. Santangelo said these events were so successful that she knew she had to get back into retail, but find a permanent location.
Today MarketPlace sells handcrafted fashion accessories, decorative housewares and other eco-friendly gifts. Santangelo, who has personally selected every item in her boutique (she attends national accessories and gift shows in New York City and Atlanta), wants her products to inspire her customers to live a better life, gather together and give of themselves. “Buying is a lot of fun,” Santangelo said. “I buy with themes in mind, with stories in mind for how I’m going to merchandise the store.” Spring, Easter and Gardening were some themes displayed in the store recently.
“I’m always trying to find that perfect gift for someone,” she said.
While some might think it odd that MarketPlace doesn’t hold regular retail hours, Santangelo said her schedule is deliberate and promotional. “I think it creates excitement because I’m not open all the time and when I am open, it’s intense,” she said.
Images from previous seasonal Markets
Santangelo uses her shop to help raise money for various charities with the proceeds of items sold going to select philanthropic endeavors, including the Joe Allegrini Children’s Hero Fund and the Avon 39 Walk to Cure Breast Cancer. The boutique sponsors six to eight charities each year. “I encourage partnering with MarketPlace to raise money for your charity,” Santangelo said, noting 25 percent of proceeds from the sale of items goes to the designated charity.
From working in event planning at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts to unpacking boxes at the pop-ups to standing in the middle of her very successful and cozy boutique, Santangelo has come a long way. “It’s hard for me to boast about what I’ve done, but this really is a happy little space for so many people,” Santangelo said, beaming. “People are happy in here.”