PTSA opens ‘Marketplace’ for potential holiday customers

Mary McGrath, Staff Writer

A myriad of merchants set up shop in a line down the main school hallway Nov. 12, preparing to embrace an eager swarm of customers. For the first time, the school was home to the Robinson Marketplace, where community members had the opportunity to both buy and sell a variety of wares.

PTSA member Ingrid Calarco said the idea of the Marketplace was derived from a longtime craft-selling show the All-Night Grad Party committee ran in the past.

“For about 18 years, the committee ran a juried, hand-craft only show, but this stopped five years ago. The Robinson Marketplace is the first time PTSA has taken on a larger show like this,” Calarco said.

The PTSA approved vendors hoping to sell at the Marketplace, assigning them to specific sites in the hallway. One anonymous vendor said she was thrilled to participate in the event because of her strong pride in the school.

“My son graduated from Robinson several years ago, so it’s always fun to come back and help out the school as much as I can,” she said.

Calarco said additional vendors were sought out online to contribute to the event.

“We advertised on a variety of crafter websites to find vendors,” Calarco said. “I then did a lot of browsing for unusual vendors by going to many craft shows and scouting for talent. I had contacts from previous shows I called as well.”

The timing of the event allowed for shoppers to purchase items from the different tables to wrap up as gifts for the upcoming holidays. Calarco said the purpose of the event was to both make holiday shopping a more simple process for the community, as well as fundraise for the PTSA.

“It was an idea to raise money for the PTSA, which can use the money to benefit all aspects of our student and teacher population,” Calarco said. “The event taking place close to the holidays was an additional bonus for the organization.”

Another key inclusion in the Marketplace was a raffle, where tickets could be purchased for the possibility of winning various prizes.

“The raffle was very successful, because the PTSA was given so many wonderful prizes by our area businesses. A lot of winners were happy when the number on their ticket was announced,” Calarco said.

The PTSA will put all proceeds made at the Marketplace to use. Calarco said some of the money will be used to purchase several wants and needs students have requested, while additional money will be allocated toward funding the senior All-Night Grad Party.

According to the PTSA, approximately one thousand customers attended the Marketplace for some period of time. Calarco said she was pleased how the community came together to help the school through the Marketplace, even if the extent of some contributions was purchasing a bag of chips.

“My favorite part of the event was seeing how well everything ran after months of planning. We had a tremendous success for our first year. Our vendors were so impressed with our fabulous sense of unity,” Calarco said.

The PTSA is currently deciding how to distribute the roughly $5,000 the Marketplace brought in.