The Slover Library, upheld by the same Batten family associated with VWU, boldly illuminates Plume Street in downtown Norfolk and provides an academic reservoir amidst the urban scenery. Virginia Wesleyan’s students may not be familiar, however, with the “secret entrance” through the library, to the co-op of shops and restaurants known as Selden Market (located at 208 E Main Street).
Similar to the library, the Market takes on afternoon hours: Tuesday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. till 5 p.m., with six public parking garages within two blocks.
A hotspot and incubator for emerging businesses, the Market’s permanent shops include, but are not limited to Gallagher—a woman-owned sustainability fashion company, Lorak Jewelry, Kor Vintage, S’mores Amore—for a nontraditional twist on a classic treat, Sugar & Grace—for all your candle and plant needs, Werther Leather Goods, Pure Lagos—a boutique of indigenous African handmade artifacts and Vessel Craft Coffee—for caffeine that is ethically sourced.
These small businesses, many of which are owned by women or minority groups, celebrate vibrant cultures, representing the Asian culture, sustainability focused mindset and artistic nature of the Norfolk area.
To maintain constant relevancy and interest with the public, Selden Market hosts pop-up shops for diverse food, baked goods or eco-friendly jewelry, fashion and hair care which gather for monthly events. These can be found on their Instagram page, @seldenmarket, their Facebook, or accessed through their webpage. Events soon to come are the New Moon Festival, Selden Baker’s Market, Holiday Plant Swap, Hot Cocoa Wars Kickoff, a Holiday Party and several other festive December activities.
Adjacent to, or in collaboration with the Market, is the Selden Arcade made up of establishments such as D’Egg—an American diner, Granby Waffle Shop at Slover, Slover Library Creative Studios—where one can access technologically advanced artistic tools or The Stockpot Norfolk, for comfort food (with gluten free and vegan options available).
The Market’s design is reminiscent of a hall you’d find in a peaceful shopping mall. Skylights allow light to filter onto tables for group seating, wooden displays and stand-alone stalls. On either side of the “tunnel-like” building are doors, while the walls are covered in vendor spaces being used by shops, or vacant spaces for rent. A vivacious venue for artists, the Market still has room to expand and is always looking to include even more options for food or opportunities to support small businesses. Altogether a quiet space, Selden Market, conjoined with the Arcade and the Slover Library, is a perfect spot for an afternoon study date.
By Sasha Saxon