Artists from Shuttered Dekalb Market Sell Wares at Boerum Hill Gift Shop

By Heather Holland on December 4, 2012 7:19am 

BOERUM HILL — The Dekalb Market is history, but some of the artists who sold work there have found a new home for their wares at a Boerum Hill gift shop.

Albert Chau, 36, who sold art-inspired toys and gifts at the Dekalb Market before it closed in late September, opened the storefront earlier this month on Bond Street. Now, it's offering new opportunities for Chau and other artists who lost their retail space after the market closed.

“We met at the Dekalb Market, so we try to help each other out,” Chau said of his store, called Grumpy Bert, located at 82 Bond St.

It sells works by artists such as Rebecca Fogle, a Fort Greene resident who sold her works at the Dekalb Market after she left her full-time job as a legal secretary.

“The [market] really gave me incentive to make the step to leave my full-time job and pursue my craft,” she explained.

She said business was going well, but when the market closed, Fogle, who sells her work on Etsy, was left with fewer ways of reaching the public. She said she was grateful when Chau offered to carry her products at Grumpy Bert.

“Albert was our neighbor at the Dekalb Market, so we often talked,” Fogle said. “His girlfriend really likes my work, and she bought a few pieces. One day, Albert called me to see if I was interested in selling my jewelry at his store.”

Fogle handcrafts all of her jewelry herself; the pieces are made out of either gold or silver and priced at $15 to $35.

Another former Dekalb Market artist, Faune Yerby, a photographer and artist based in DUMBO, didn’t have any luck finding a space to continue selling her artwork when the market closed. She says she relies on independent stores like Grumpy Bert and craft shows to keep the revenue flowing.

“It was nice to have a storefront and a door you could lock,” she said of her former space in the Dekalb Market. “It was nice to be able to tell a person where our store was, rather than say, ‘Well I’m on a street.”

Now Grumpy Bert carries several of Yerby’s collages, which are priced from $25 to $45 each, and her greeting cards, which sell for $3 to $4 each.

Aside from sharing shelf space at Grumpy Bert, Yerby and Fogle have partnered together to share a booth at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market, noting they are not the only ones to make the move.

“A lot of the vendors from the Dekalb Market are at the Columbus Market,” Fogle said. “We say hi to each other and take breaks together. It’s a good community of artists.”

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