If you've ever seen Notting Hill, you saw Hugh Grant at London's famed outdoor market on Portobello Road, trudging past a plethora of bric-a-brac, a cornucopia of artisan wares.
It's appropriate, then, that the owner of a business called Little London Market is importing the concept to Colorado Springs.
For Mary Beth Cipoletti, it's a natural outgrowth of her consignment/auction company, Auction House 109, which she opened in December in the old Ross Auction building under the Colorado Avenue bridge. She envisions an outdoor market providing an all-around experience that families can count on every second Saturday, May through October.
"You go to places like San Francisco and Cincinnati, and they have that wonderful area where you can go and know there's vendors," Cipoletti says. "I want to develop a place where people can come and know there's always some fun activity going on."
Her market will offer antiques, flowers, produce, food and handmade arts and crafts, plus wine and gourmet coffee. The Garden Artists plein air painters will be on hand to capture the ambiance with their brushes, and Pueblo's Musso Farms and Colorado Springs' own Summerland Gardens have signed up to participate.
Cipoletti, 50, has a background in business and owned the La Veta Inn, southwest of Walsenburg, for five years. But she's not focusing solely on the market's bottom line: she sees it as a potential community center that will add value to the lives of vendors, creative people and residents.
Vendor response for the first market, on May 12, has been good. Cipoletti will have six antiques dealers on her spacious loading dock; other vendors can pick from among 18 tents, each measuring 8 feet by 10 feet, in her parking lot. Vendors are welcome to share a tent and, therefore, the expense and labor.
"The tents were a big investment," she says. "Most markets don't provide tents. I want it to look consistent and clean and classy."
And she's open to whatever vendors want to bring — as long as it's good quality. "It's going to be a huge variety. Some of my dealers are bringing French items, some are bringing little kitschy things."
And who knows, maybe you'll see Hugh Grant. Nah, probably not.