Artisan Market sets up shop on North Shore

Story and photos by Karie Angell Luc For Chronicle Media 

Lea Juat, 10, a fifth-grader from Northbrook, selects fabric characters in pop culture character themes at the North Shore Artisan Market at Village Green Park in Northbrook. 


An estimated 6,000 people attended the first North Shore Artisan Market at Village Green Park in Northbrook on June 22-23. 

Nearly 100 booth holders, the majority of them artisans and small businesses, had tents and tables set up along winding pathways under heritage oak trees in the park. The weather was partly sunny at 85 degrees when the event opened June 22. 

“It looks like a good crowd,” said Jonathan Smith, co-founder of – INV Marketing Group, market producer of the Artisan Market. “Northbrook is such a great community and Village Green Park is a perfect place for people to gather and to support small businesses. 

“We have nearly 100 artisans here and people are just coming out and showing them the love. It’s fantastic,” Smith said. 

Smith said independent businesses and entrepreneurs need continual support and that results in a

Children from the Godawa family of Des Plaines play around the lion water fountain at Village Green Park during the June 22 North Shore Artisan Market.

vibrant local economy. 

“As we like to say, keep your friends close and your supply chain closer,” Smith said. 

“Small businesses are the folks that,” generate sales taxes, help fund schools, parks, hospitals, roads and bridges, Smith said. 

“Sure, you can shop online,” Smith added, but each purchase made at local markets “helps a small business and gives back to the economy.” 

Carole Robison of Northbrook shopped artisan booths placed along Village Green Park’s gazebo. 

“I love all this stuff,” Robison said. “It’s beautiful.” 

Samm Carsello, also of Northbrook, purchased handmade originals and would like to see the Artisan Market at the park more frequently. 

“Have it more than once a year,” Carsello said as a suggestion. “Maybe once a month. 

Kim Kulton of Villa Park, president of Bee All About It, Honey Bee Rescue and Sweet Taste of Sunshine, restocks honey jars during the Artisan Market.

“It brings the community together,” Carsello said. “I’ve seen a lot of people that I know, and it’s always great to see all of the small businesses and being able to go out and support them. 

“I’ve had really great conversations with the business owners about how they started.” 

“I think it’s important to support small businesses and local businesses just to keep them afloat,” Carsello said. 

Kim Kulton of Villa Park, president of Bee All About It, Honey Bee Rescue and Sweet Taste of Sunshine, sold honey and shared stories with people about the importance of bees to the environment. 

Kulton sold varieties of honey that have flavors based on the locality of where the hives are. Customers could choose from darker honey to amber pale, for example. The colors and flavor of each batch depend on the plants visited by the bees of each hive.  

“They all have their own different, unique taste to them,” Kulton said about the honey which is like

Patrons move through the North Shore Artisan Market.

tasting wine varieties. 

“My orange blossom, you can actually taste the citrus, my cranberry, you can actually taste a bit of the tart cranberry,” said Kulton, who has pollination contracts with local farmers (cranberry bogs plus blueberry and pumpkin farmland). 

The buckwheat and tulip-poplar tree honey varieties are among “the really interesting ones,” she said. 

About the tulip-poplar honey, Kulton said, “It’s a real dark, it’s not a super sweet, honey, but it’s thought to be a more medicinal honey. 

“The early settlers used all parts of this (tulip-poplar) tree, the roots, the bark, whenever they had any ailments, this is the tree they went to back in the day to heal themselves.” 

Samm Carsello of Northbrook (second from left) visits a vendor booth.

Kulton maintains 15 apiaries in the Chicago area.  

“I rescue all my bees from people’s houses,” said Kulton, who relocates honeybees, carpenter bees and bumblebees. 

“And I can also come up with strategies for wasps, hornets and yellow jackets because those are pollinators too.” 

Lea Juat, 10, a fifth-grader from Northbrook, and her father Paul, visited Village Green Park with their leashed pup Logan,  a male goldendoodle. 

Lea spent considerable time with her father choosing handmade small plush toys in the form of pop culture characters. 

“I love everything here,” Lea said. “It’s really cool to see all the artists.” 

“It’s a great family event. We’re having a great time,” Paul Juat said. 

The 2024 artisan markets continue at other Chicago area locations into December. 

Markets are: 

  • July 14 at Fulton Market in Chicago 
  • Sept. 28-29 at CityGate Centre in Naperville 
  • Oct. 5 at Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook 
  • Oct. 13 at Fulton Market 
  • Nov. 17 at Fulton Market 
  • Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at Ravenswood in Chicago 
  • Dec. 15 at Fulton Market 

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