Fresh52 markets founder insists on local vendors, homemade goods
Carrie Hogan was an event planner and worked for a wedding concierge service when she saw a movie that reduced her to tears and convinced her to try to help improve the world.
Hogan, a resident of Southern Nevada since 1998, still plans events under the name CH Designs, but mostly for family, friends and referrals.
She spends most of her time as founder and manager of the Fresh52 Farmers and Artisan Market, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays at Sansone Park Place at 9480 S. Eastern Ave. in Henderson, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturday of each month at Inspirada’s Solista Park at 2000 Via Firenze in Henderson.
Hogan even mans a booth at the markets, selling products from Gilcrease Orchard in the northern Las Vegas Valley and China Ranch Date Farm in Tecopa, California, about 75 miles from Las Vegas. Her farmers hail from locales including Henderson, Boulder City, Las Vegas and Pahrump.
There were farmers markets in town that had produce, but no one knew where it was coming from. She wanted to be transparent. She wanted everything there to be handmade, sourced locally and help small businesses grow. Local farmers want a manager there to control the stuff that’s coming in. She sets standards for the vendors. They log onto the website, fill out an application, submit all legal documents, all the information about their farm or how they make things — pest management, (acreage), water management, if they’re organic or not. She then visits the farm before they ever sell, meets the farmers, looks at their agriculture certificates to see if what they’re growing matches their certs. Whether it’s a farmer or beauty product or food maker, they send a sample with ingredients. She reviews all ingredients; no GMOs and no artificial ingredients. 30 to 35 vendors sign up regularly there. A big part of what she wants to do is educate the consumer and get them there shopping every week and supporting the local vendors.
Great Buns Bakery evolves and grows, just like its hometown
Just a few blocks east of the Strip, it’s not hard to find Great Buns Bakery on Tropicana Avenue. The family-owned shop’s scent of fresh bread and pastries gives it away long before you set foot inside. It’s the kind of aroma that draws a person in and keeps their family coming back to the bakery’s dual production and retail facility for generations.
Anthony Madonia Jr., son of the shop’s co-founder, says his wife often comments on the bakery smell that his clothing carries when he gets home at night.
The bakery burned to the ground and wasn’t open for a while. The blaze occurred in 2007. Madonia said it was the longest night of his life.
It wasn’t easy, but they decided to rebuild on the same site at 3270 E. Tropicana Ave.
Seventeen months later, Great Buns was open again in a new building, and now, the 25,000-square-foot production facility and store is a bustling place.
The majority of its business comes from its wholesale operation.
They supply a vast majority of the hotels and casinos on and off the Strip, along with golf courses, sports bars, sandwich shops and pizza places,” said Deborah Morelli, operations manager and co-owner.
Along with Las Vegas itself, Great Buns has grown and evolved through the years.
With his father now in his golden years, Madonia has taken on a larger role at the bakery, which open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.