When Janet Gardner Long, the creator and producer of Ardmore's Clover Market was in college, she fell in love with open air markets during a backpacking trip through Europe.
Clover Market, which she opened in spring 2010, is an outdoor market in Ardmore featuring antiques and collectibles, vintage jewelry and clothing, handmade items, original art, and artisan crafts.
The market, open in the spring and fall, began with about two dozen vendors. When it returns next week, there will be 130 vendors.
Located in downtown Ardmore in Lower Merion Township, the market begins on Schauffele Plaza, the municipal lot next to Bella Italia Pizza and across from Brownie's 23 East at 12 E. Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore. It has also spread to a portion of Cricket Terrace.
People often compare Clover Market to Brooklyn Flea, a huge market in New York, and indeed Long "did go to college with one of the founders of Brooklyn Flea, Jonathan Butler," she said, "but that wasn't my first inspiration."
Instead, it was that European trip where she visited markets like London's Portabello Road, and often wondered whether it couldn't work in the Philadelphia area. She later studied the workings, visitors and vendors of Brooklyn Flea.
Always entrepreneurial, Long had a flower business in college. Later she worked in marketing and advertising and received an MBA in marketing. She also owns an interior design practice, but has less time for it since Clover Market sprung up.
"It takes a lot of work to do this," Long said, laughing. "You don't just whip it together. It is a tremendous amount of planning to do it properly."
Part of doing it properly, Long decided, was to hold the market just three times a season, to keep it manageable and fresh. This fall, it will be open September 16, October 14, and November 4.
Part of its attraction for the community, Long said, is that it brings people into Ardmore's business district. You can start at Clover Market, and then wander downtown Ardmore and even visit Suburban Square.
"Ardmore is a great middle point and easy location," Long said. "The market is accessible by train, by car, or by foot."
She describes the collection of pop-up stores, whose vendor staples include Nannygoat Antiques & Vintage Style, from Narberth, and Freshvintage, of West Chester.
New this season will be Rabbits, Feathers, & Bone, whose owner, Laura McCann, makes repurposed jewelry from amulets, talisman, rosaries and charm bracelets that she collects from around the world. Also, Green Market Purveying, sells hand-poured candles made in small batches. Picked Vintage, of Philadelphia, specializing in mid-century modern furniture, will also be making its Clover Market debut.