If ever a business had a story to tell, The Century City Artisans Market is it. Our story is one of ingenuity, personal redemption and a passion for giving back. Sam Douek struggled in school most of his formative years. He had a difficult time focusing in the classroom, which left him with low self-esteem. After leaving his high school at the end of ninth grade, ready to give up, Sam got a fresh start at the Jewish Educational Trade School, otherwise known as JETS. At JETS, the primary focus is to develop each boy’s marketable skills, with an emphasis on entrepreneurialism and vocation, resulting in the development of self-esteem and inherent self-worth of every individual.
In 2018, Sam, a father of one at the time, entered the Farmer’s Market in search of a unique, standout gift for his mother. While he didn’t find the gift he sought, he discovered a group of artisans looking to sell their handmade wares, but without the proper audience. The idea for an artisans market was born! Sam spent the next two years working to create the perfect setting for these incredible small business owners, and in March 2020, the Century City Artisans Market launched. The market was an instant, resounding success.
Wanting to honor the school that had supported him along the way, Sam hired JETS students to run the market, assist the vendors with their set-up, direct crowd control, handle parking and traffic challenges, and greet the patrons as they entered the market. This gave students hands-on experience with running a business and seeing their hard work come to fruition. Collaborating with over eighty vendors in that first week alone, the Century City Artisans Market gave small business owners the opportunity to share their wares in a meaningful setting, with an audience that appreciated their value.
Despite the Covid lockdown, the Market re-opened in May 2020, giving our dedicated vendors the opportunity to support their families during these especially trying times. Since then, we’re proud of how the Market has grown, with hundreds of new vendors seeking to join each week. With 98% of the demographic ranging in ages from 22 to 40, 90% female and 60% minority, the market is a picture of the American dream.
Today the market has expanded to locations in Seattle and Hartford, with additional locations opening in Chicago, Santa Barbara, and San Diego! Sam’s life’s mission is fulfilled each time the Market operates. He is thrilled at the opportunity to give small business owners the ability to provide for their families while doing the work they love. And he is so gratified to be able to give back to JETS by teaching and mentoring their students. In Sam’s words, “I want people to have fun, and when it benefits so many, there’s an added dimension of pleasure and wonder!”
Our mission is simple!
We want small business owners to succeed! Our greatest joy is when our vendors sell out of the wares they bring. This means they can support their families and create more wonderful products to share.
Our market is a happy place! There’s a feeling of caring, sharing and giving. We regularly host animal shelters looking for pet adoptions, and host giveaways for the homeless and needy.
We seek to serve local communities by ensuring our markets are sustainable. Health insurance providers, loan officers, general bankers and others are invited to share resources of information pertaining to home loans, health insurance coverage and whichever information may be of significant assistance to our patrons.
Our market-goers appreciate the valuable products we bring together and share in our mission of supporting small businesses and local communities.