Momma’s offers a variety of fresh food and ingredients, including salmon, baked goods, spices, salsas, hummus, relishes, jellies and honey. The market’s vendors operate outside and sell their products every Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m.
Christa Esquibel, owner of Momma’s Organic Market, created her business as an alternative for people who want pesticide-free produce from local farmers. Esquibel said she supports local vendors that provide products and services for her market.
“It seems like a great addition for the Arizona Center and one more way to support local farmers and micro businesses,” said Dan Klocke, Downtown Phoenix Partnership vice president of planning and economic development.
The Arizona Center location gives employees who work downtown an opportunity to take advantage of what the market has to offer just as much as those who live nearby, Esquibel said.
Abi Kwiecinski, who works two jobs at the Arizona Center, said the market is convenient for her and that she was impressed by some of the more unique products.
“Some of the jewelry doesn’t even look handmade,” Kwiecinski said. “It looks too beautiful to be handmade.”
Handmade-jewelry vendor Linda Knutson said the market as a whole draws in people. While some might not expect to see jewelry at a farmers market, she thinks they will be drawn to it anyway.
Other vendors sell products such as Native American jewelry, ear candles, lotions and oils.
Mary Bridges came to the market directly from work on Thursday and bought produce and pastries.
“I will be back every time for as long as they are here,” she said.
Esquibel said she isn’t worried about her market’s location at the Arizona Center to the Phoenix Public Market only blocks away. She said she isn’t trying to compete with the open-air market.
“They have an incredible thing going on, and if people in the area aren’t available Thursday night, I hope they will go Wednesday or Saturday to the Phoenix Public Market before going to a chain store,” Esquibel said.
Klocke said he hopes Momma’s will sell to customers that the Phoenix Public Market has not reached.
“I really hope it is successful and that more people downtown will be able to experience the great products we grow and produce here in Arizona,” Klocke said.
Esquibel has two other markets in the West Valley that have been in business for a couple of years. She plans to open another in Phoenix next month and a few more markets in the near future.
“I try to make sure the markets I open do not compete or take away from existing markets,” Esquibel said. “I just want to help the community to experience what the local vendors have to offer.”
The hardest part of opening a new business is getting the word out, she added.
“You can never have too much advertising or buzz, especially with small businesses with small advertising budgets,” Esquibel said.
The best thing about Momma’s is working with other people and enjoying the actual products, Esquibel said.
“The vendors are so wonderful, the customers are great, and I’ve been able to stock my fridge and pantry with local food that I can’t get at the store,” Esquibel said. “I am truly blessed to be in the business I’m in.”
Contact the reporter at Dana.Demarco@asu.edu