The Downtown Downers Grove Market: ‘a neighborhood in the truest sense’
Walk by the Downtown Downers Grove Market on a Saturday morning, and you’ll see a lively scene: passersby of all ages enjoy the outdoors while perusing the market’s stands as local vendors sell everything from handmade soaps to farm-fresh produce. Residents snack on mini donuts straight from the frier, enjoy cups of locally brewed coffee, and stop by the Indian Boundary YMCA’s tent to learn more about the center’s educational, fitness, and family programs.
Beyond the hustle and bustle of this beloved Downers Grove staple, the market plays an active role in strengthening the local community: a portion of its proceeds go toward the Indian Boundary Y’s scholarship fund, which ensures that families in need can benefit from everything the center has to offer.
We wanted to shine a spotlight on some of the vendors that make the Downtown Downers Grove Market such a special place to shop and gather. Here’s what they had to say:
Kyle, Frogtown Juice Co.
This is my fourth year doing the Downtown Downers Grove Market. When I first started out here, it was a rainy day and I only sold two juices, but since then—and thanks to support from the community and other vendors—my business has grown, and now I’m almost sold out for the day. Furthermore, as a Black business owner, I am grateful to have seen the Y’s proactive response to Black Lives Matter last summer, which is something I didn’t see at other places where I’ve been a vendor. Everyone in the community makes me feel welcome here. I can’t say enough good things about the market.
This summer has been fantastic. Just being able to be out here with people as we open up … it’s a social thing, a way to spend quality time with the community. On top of that, the Downtown Downers Grove Market has been essential to our business as a bridge between COVID and post-COVID. We’ve had to temporarily close our brick-and-mortar store, and markets like these are our pivot until we can come back full strength.
Rebecca, Cheese People IL
Customers here at the Downtown Downers Grove Market are really friendly and willing to engage with one another. Coming from having to do e-commerce during the pandemic, it’s nice to interact with people while selling. These days, we almost exclusively do farmer’s markets. My partner was a camp counselor for the Y, and I’m glad that places like this exist for local families to experience a sense of normalcy, shop around, and enjoy our cheeses.
Kevin and Lynda, Carpe Donuts
We love the people here—it’s a very positive space. We meet people from all walks of life, and especially now, it feels like everyone’s just glad to be around one another. It really restores your faith in humanity. Once, one of our regulars here at the Downtown Downers Grove Market found out we needed an extra hand to work this stand and simply came by to work. That’s the kind of community atmosphere that keeps us going and keeps us coming back. It’s our third year at this market, and it won’t be our last!
Eryn Matheny, the Downtown Downers Grove Market Manager, echoed the vendors’ sentiments. “It’s a great gathering place, an easy first step back into safe socializing after the year we’ve had,” she said of the market. “What we try to do here in Downers Grove is create an inclusive environment that fosters connection, community, a neighborhood in the truest sense.”
The Downtown Downers Grove Market runs every Saturday from 7am-12:30pm at the Downers Grove Train Station (5001 Main St, Downers Grove, IL 60515) until October 16. For updates, vendor lists, and more, be sure to visit and follow the Downtown Downers Grove Market’s Facebook page.