SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - In a spacious room at Gateway Mall in Springfield, David Wells is opening a door of opportunity for vendors like himself.
"It is a 14,000 square foot space," Wells said. "We have room for 55 merchants who want to come in and bring a home-based business ... and bring it to the mall."
The new marketplace, called the EuGenius Market, is open to anyone who wants to sell their own inventions or products. The only rules are that vendors can't sell animals, guns, or knives.
All vendors pay a flat fee of $25 for a 10-by-10-foot space.
Having been a vendor for 15 years, Wells is familiar with the struggles that come for small businesses during a rough economy.
"It's a lot of work," Wells said. "You take a lot of risks, you need a place to rent to set up your booth, and sometimes you sleep in your car just to keep the budget in line."
Wells said the idea behind the market is to help the small business sector in Eugene grow. When he was a vendor in Arizona, he had a similar vision when he rented a space at small marketplace.
"We rented a little space and we did very, very well in a six week period," Wells said. "The next year we doubled ourselves and the third year we tripled ourselves. Then we developed our own product line."
Wells said those smart decisions include selling locally and buying locally.
"The money needs to stay in the community and the more we do that, the better off the entire community is," Wells said. "People will take the chance at making their own business here."
Ginger St. Claire Janisse is a bead vendor who has been working at pow wows for years.
Janisse said that now the small business she works for has the chance to build up a clientele at a more stable location through the EuGenius Market.
"In here it's nice. You can set up, and be here for every weekend for a month and it's less work actually," Janisse said.
Patty Hill is a creative artist from Eugene that uses odd colored glassware to make yard art.
"I just like to make things that are pretty and make people laugh," Hill said.
As she opens her booth at the EuGenius Market, it gives her that first chance to showcase her hidden creations to the public.
"This is my second day, I mean last weekend was it. You're seeing it from the ground folks," Hill said. "This is the beginning."
Eighty-five percent of the booth space at the marketplace has been rented out through December.
The EuGenius Market will be open Fridays 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Jan. 27.
For information on renting a booth, contact David Wells at (541) 729-2608 or EuGenuisMarket@hotmail.com.