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Community Highlights: Meet Ann Chute-Jacobs of Marketplace at the Ranch

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ann Chute-Jacobs.

Hi Ann, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I initially got into the retail business when I started painting furniture. I needed a place to sell my pieces, so I reached out to a local co-op called Laurel Glen in Escondido and that’s where my journey began. I have been in a number of co-ops, including Urban Barn, Vinklectic, Lotus, Sea Hive, Adore, and Junktion 101. While I began my business painting furniture, I quickly realized that I would also need to add home decor items to help stage my furniture pieces and to increase my sales. Furniture pieces do not move very quickly. Just because someone loves your piece, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have a space or a need for it in their home. I was a vendor in Lotus in Solana Beach (formerly known as Leaping Lotus) when the pandemic forced the world to shut down. It was at that time that Lotus decided to close their doors for good. For a time, I was without a place to sell my treasures. Junktion 101 in San Marcos opened in October of 2020 so I decided to give retail another try.

At the same time that I moved into Junktion 101, I had also started entertaining an idea that I had had for some time. I am fortunate enough to have an acre of land that my house sits on in Escondido. My husband helped me build a shop where I could work on my furniture. I had imagined making my shop into a space where I could invite friends to come and sell their products. Many of my friends are very talented and creative people as well. I thought it would be great to offer a space where they could not only sell merchandise but also offer “how to” classes on some of the things they make. After talking with a number of them, I decided to bite the bullet and give my idea a chance. With a group of primarily four other women, including Evelyn Assi, Rachel Luna, Kristy Amador, Stacie Byrne, and myself, we planned a pop-up market at my home in Escondido. I decided to call it Marketplace at the Ranch. We had a total of 24 vendors who participated in our first market. We held the market on the evening of Friday, June 11th and during the day on Saturday, June 12th. I think it would be fair to say that we were all pleasantly surprised at how many people came to our event. Everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves at the market. I think the public is hungry for new ways to shop. Malls are not nearly as popular as they once were. I have found that people really like supporting local small businesses and these kinds of pop-up markets definitely do that. Our plan at this time is to have a quarterly pop-up market but also offer some smaller, private shopping opportunities, as well as appointment shopping. I also hope to add in some classes as well. The classes might be on anything from furniture painting and transfers to journal making and felting.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I don’t think many people would call small scale retail a smooth road. Curating your own space inside a larger store with a number of other vendors has its limitations. Some of those limitations include having to ask permission to carry new product lines (it doesn’t make sense for two vendors to carry the same product in a store), setting up and constantly re-merchandising your product, and hoping you sell enough each month to make your rent, and have some profit left over after paying the sales commission to the store. Anytime you leave one store or go into a new one, the whole moving in and moving out process can be exhausting.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Marketplace at the Ranch is a place for small local business owners/makers (which are primarily women-owned) to sell their wares. The idea for Marketplace at the Ranch had been brewing inside me for a while. I would have to say that the pandemic shutdown helped push me towards realizing this dream. What I personally love to specialize in is finding and curating European antiques and items that are rustic in nature. I think what sets Marketplace at the Ranch apart from some other pop-up markets is that our market is not held in a parking lot or along the street. Our market is located in a beautiful park like setting at my home. That really enhances the shopping experience quite a bit. What I am most proud of brand-wise is that I really want Marketplace at the Ranch to be known for supporting small local businesses that sell primarily handmade items (whether by themselves or other artisans). I am proud that Marketplace at the Ranch also has many handcrafted items made by women in developing countries. Those artisans get paid a living wage for their work and are provided an outlet where they can sell their work. I want each market that I host to offer a wide assortment of different vendors. That not only makes for a more interesting market to shop at, but it also helps ensure, for the vendors who are participating, that they won’t have any direct competition. It’s a winning combination for everyone. We are looking at offering small, intimate classes in things like furniture painting and felting sometime in the near future.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
The most important advice I can give to anyone just starting out is to make sure you love what you do. There will be times when you might feel overwhelmed by the work that’s in front of you, but if you love what you are doing, then it will all be worth it. I wish I knew when I was starting out that it’s usually best to trust your own instincts. When I started in retail, I would sometimes let store owners push me in directions I didn’t really want to go in because I thought they knew more than me. As it turns out, that isn’t always the case.

Contact Info:

  • Email: Ann@MarketplaceattheRanch.com
  • Instagram: @marketplaceattheranch
  • Facebook: Marketplace at the Ranch


Image Credits:

Photo credits to Kristy Amador and Evelyn Assi.

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