Locals-first market blossoms on Lakewood Main Street
Niki Dalsing and Lindsay Wood, the founders of Main Street Market, launched these boutique-style shopping experiences in 2020 with 24 vendors. The vendor list has now grown to more than 75.
| 1:38 p.m. November 14, 2022
For nearly two years — during a pandemic that threatened the longevity of small businesses everywhere — local business owners were given a prime venue to showcase and sell their wares at the Main Street Market in downtown Lakewood Ranch. And, during a time when shopping indoors was risky for many, Lakewood Ranch residents enjoyed an open-air shopping experience that gave them access to artisan-made goods and the opportunity to meet and chat with neighbors.
The winning team behind this winning effort?
Niki Dalsing and Lindsay Wood, the founders of Main Street Market.
“During the pandemic, many people were only shopping online or getting their food and essentials delivered because they didn’t feel safe shopping indoors,” says Wood. “We realized this was the ideal opportunity to give Ranchers a safe shopping alternative — and to give small businesses a viable venue.” Wood emphasizes that this is not a farmers market. “This is a boutique-style experience that offers unique and one-of-a-kind items created or sourced by local makers, artisans and small business owners.” She adds that she and Dalsing started coordinating markets in November 2020 “with a vision to bring our community together after a very challenging time.”
Dalsing and Wood have since coordinated eight Saturday markets at Lakewood Ranch Main Street, and seven night markets during Ranch Nite Wednesdays at Waterside Place.
The first market showcased 24 vendors and has grown to more than 75. Wood explains that the market brings together independent artists and makers who specialize in home decor, fashion, art, gifts, food and even items for pets. (As the owner of Blossom & Burn Co., a soy wax candle company, Wood is herself a vendor at the market.) Most of the vendors come from the local region — with a few from the Tampa Bay area, and additional vendors are encouraged to apply for spaces.
“We’re looking for locally owned businesses that either handcraft or locally source the goods they sell,” says Dalsing. “It is a major plus if the goods are also ethically sourced.”
The ability to create community and coordinate events is nothing new for Dalsing and Wood. They were both making an impact on their respective communities — in and out of Florida —long before they launched Main Street Market.
Dalsing first moved with her husband and daughter to Lakewood Ranch from the Chicago suburbs in 2014. She previously worked for Feld Entertainment as an event coordinator, and has since applied her experience to the operation, organization and planning of Main Street Market. Dalsing is also the lead instructor at barre3, a fitness studio on Lakewood Main Street, and a part-time employee for Influence, a retail boutique also on Main Street.
Wood and her husband moved from Los Angeles to Lakewood Ranch in 2019 to be closer to family. Wood’s degree in psychology helps her better understand the needs of consumers and vendors.
Both Wood and Dalsing say they’re thrilled with how fast the market has grown.
“This season we’re adding live music and youth dance performances during the markets,” says Wood, adding that marketgoers should expect to see handcrafted jewelry, baked goods, plants, original artwork, home decor, and clothing and accessories for adults and children.
“It’s such a win-win,” says Dalsing. “Area residents get to support local businesses, find inspired gifts for the holidays, listen to live music and meet their neighbors in a beautiful, open-air ambiance. What could be better?”