Entrepreneurism is contagious, infectious, and, overall, better with company. Matt Estin knows this, and knew he wanted to bring this entrepreneurial epidemic to downtown Fargo in a shared space—leading him to open yet another venture, First Avenue Market!
In 2021, Matt opened a business fueled by passion, healthy treats, and his pup, Gunner, Bark’n Biscuits, a pet bakery offering healthy, handmade treats, toys, and other items for the furry friends of Fargo. Now, two years and four locations later, Matt is expanding from just serving pets to serving the entire community in partnership with local, small businesses.
First Avenue Market is a storefront housing and selling a variety of local makers’ products, all in one spot.
“A lot of people are excited that we have a marketplace downtown, it’s nice to have grocery-type items,” Matt said. “On the bottom floor, we have sandwiches and local meat, which is grass-fed, so we’re trying to offer food options for people who live down here as well as the rest of Fargo. Then, the top floor has gift and boutique items. And of course, Bark’n Biscuits is here—can’t leave your dog out—with a dog bakery and toys. So overall, it’s just a nice place for everybody.”
Inside, you’ll see coolers, racks, shelves, and more all filled with products made and loved locally. Matt met most of the vendors through local markets and vendor shows, and some even reach out to him through social media or word of mouth to get in on the opportunity. For some of the vendors, First Avenue Market is the first physical location these makers have sold in.
At the time of writing, there are currently 18 different vendors selling products in the market, but the sky’s the limit when it comes to making more space for local business according to Matt. He said the market will bring more vendors in if any are interested, the focus is creating space in and for the community. The only stipulation is competition, so no two types of products being sold are the same.
And you’ll notice, when inside, because of that, that the space feels cohesive.
Bark’n Biscuits has four different locations now, check out what sweet (and a little bacon-ey) treats these bakeries have to offer!
4035 40th Ave S Suite D, Fargo
Bark’n Biscuits | Inside Brewhalla
1702 1st Ave N, Fargo
First Avenue Market
612 1st Ave N, Fargo
12673 Co Hwy 17, Detroit Lakes | Shady Hollow Flea Market
This location is part of the Shady Hollow Flea Market in Detroit and Pelican lakes area! This 53-yearold market runs every weekend Memorial weekend through Labor Day weekend, and every Saturday in September. Check it out next summer!
There are items for those looking for a bite to eat, a shopping boutique-like area, a whole room dressed like a gift shop with local creative’s work, and, of course, a doggy bakery—all woven together with antique furniture and display pieces to create a “country” store feel.
“I didn’t want everyone to be segregated by their business. So what I do is I have merchandised the store to what makes sense. Everybody’s product is kind of spread around in whatever makes sense,” Matt said.
The business space offers lots of room for said products to be displayed, and you might be able to imagine it, even if you haven’t visited. The market is in the same location that Pounds was previously located in! With great downtown foot traffic, plenty of window displays, and a full kitchen, the availability of the space couldn’t have come at a better time.
Originally looking to just expand their business, Matt said they were looking for spaces downtown as they operate their baking out of Square One Kitchens when they heard about an opening. We were inquiring about a building downtown and the owners of this building said they had a restaurant bar that was closing down, but they didn’t think we would be interested,” Matt said. “So, I asked what the building was and they asked if I knew Pounds. They said Pounds was looking to relocate and they’re going to have a lease available for the building, and we jumped on the offer.”
Once they realized how much space they had, they came up with the idea to open a marketplace.
The market is open daily from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., stop in for coffee and visit Chucken Coffee Co.; swing by and grab some lunch packaged by The Red Silo or Maria’s HomeStyle Mexican Food; shop Luna.Tique.Boutique, Up North Mercant ile, It’s in the Bag!, or so many others; or grab a refreshing and oh-so-comforting bottled drink from Namaste Chai—there’s simply too much to do in one trip, so make sure you plan a few!