Holiday times at 2nd Street Market

Photo: Don Wick (right) of Hydro Growers sells his produce at 2nd Street Market

By Lauren Lemons

Equal parts  heartwarming and exhausting, the holidays are a time to shop, wrap, cook, host, and create lasting memories with your family and friends. For those looking to skip the stress of crowded grocery stores and big box retailers, downtown Dayton hosts a variety of shopping opportunities, including the 2nd Street Market, 600 E. Second St., Dayton.

A one-stop destination where shoppers can grab lunch, stock up on holiday goodies, and find unique gifts, the 2nd Street Market is home to more than 50 small business vendors, many of which feature specialty holiday items throughout the season.

“There’s a really warm atmosphere at the Market during the holidays,” said Jimmy Harless, Market manager. “Shopping for gifts and groceries doesn’t feel like a chore here—it’s a festive and friendly environment.”

Dinner is served.

Whether you need a grab-and-go dessert or fresh produce to create a holiday feast, the Market features a variety of cultural cuisines, delicious desserts, pantry staples, and more.

Main Dish: Find Bowman & Landes free-range turkeys, chicken, and pork at KGB Farms. Tea Hills Farms offers organic chicken patties, and Carroll Creek Farms offers fresh local beef.

Sides: Azra’s Mediterranean Cuisine offers premade dishes for those who want to speed up dinner prep. Fresh produce is available from Garber Farms, Hydro-Growers, Homefull, and Dayton Urban Green. Get fresh-baked bread at Rahn’s Artisan Breads, Big Sky Bread, and Garber Farms. Find spices, kitchen staples for recipes, noodles, and more at Spice Rack & Bulk Foods and Maria’s Unique Foods.

Dessert: Arguably the best part of dinner, holiday desserts are plentiful at the Market. Find pies and desserts at Garber Farms, Kolb’s Specialty Bakery, Azra’s Mediterranean Cuisine, and Bellbrook Chocolate and Desserts by Ann K. If you have houseguests for the holiday, grab a few pastries from Rahn’s Artisan Breads, Garber Farms, and Kolb’s Specialty Bakery for breakfast.

For those who have dietary restrictions to consider, some of the Market’s vendors offer paleo, vegan, and gluten-free items

Equitable eats

Homefull, a local nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness, has extended their presence at the Market during the holiday season. Now at the Market on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Homefull will offer a variety of produce, in addition to administering SNAP and Produce Perks programs at the Market. The Ohio Direction Card (SNAP) and Produce Perks programs allow more access to fresh, local food throughout the holiday season.

“Food is such an important part of people’s holiday celebrations,” said Market manager, Jimmy Harless. “The Market’s partnership with Homefull creates better, more equitable access to healthy food during the holiday season and year-round.”

Family fun 

Extended family members, out-of-town guests, and kids will love grabbing a warm lunch at the Market, followed by shopping and an afternoon skate at MetroParks Ice Rink. For little ones anxious to share their holiday wish lists, the jolly man himself will be at the Market on Friday, Dec. 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 16, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. During Santa’s visit, guitarist Danny Voris will be in the Market’s pavilion playing holiday music for all to enjoy.

Shopping small

While it might be strange to think that a day of giving thanks is immediately followed by an all-out retail sprint to the holiday finish line, the race to check people off your list starting after Thanksgiving is a heated one. Crowded malls and long lines are not things many people look forward to, but opting to shop small often allows you to avoid huge crowds and have a positive impact on the community.

“The Market is a great place to patronize small businesses,” Harless said. “You’ll end up with products and gifts that are unique and often one-of-a-kind.”

Shopping small has grown into a season-long endeavor that has the potential to boost local economies and support job creation. American Express reports that small businesses account for 64 percent of new jobs created in the U.S. between 1993 and 2011. Additionally, 112 million people shopped small on Small Business Saturday in 2016—a 13 percent increase from 2015.

Shoppers in search of the perfect present can find hand-crafted artisan goods at the Market, in addition to fresh flowers and décor that make perfect hostess gifts. Market vendors offering holiday gifts include:

  • Studio Regina Glass
  • Whistling Sam’s Prims
  • New World Alpaca
  • Brenner Creations
  • The Cook’s Pantry
  • Revamped Jems
  • Papi Joe’s Tennessee Hot Sauce
  • Hedy Riegle Studio
  • Wegerzyn Gift & Garden Shop
  • Now and Zen Terrariums
  • Willowdale Farms
  • Consider the Lilies
  • Westlane Alley
  • Tim’s Gifts n’ More
  • Jon Graham Pottery
  • Missing Peace Art Space
  • Simply Aura Boutique
  • Fabric Art Creations
  • Missy’s Wooden Roses

Vendors’ schedules vary and some are located in the Market’s pavilion.

“Shopping small keeps your dollars in Dayton and many of these items are locally sourced, so you know that you are making a more sustainable shopping choice,” Harless said.

The 2nd Street Market, a Five Rivers MetroParks facility, is open Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit for more information. 

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Reach DCP freelance writer Lauren Lemons at

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