the next market toronto

Toronto vendors demand refunds from market organizer after last minute cancellation

After cancelling three markets at the last minute in June, dozens of vendors in Toronto are speaking out against event organizer, The Next Market, and demanding refunds for their wasted time and efforts. 

The most recent event —scheduled for Sunday, June 25 — was abruptly cancelled at the eleventh hour, with some vendors alleging that they weren't even aware of the cancellation until they showed up at the venue. 

"I cannot believe I'm writing this and I was not prepared to do so," The Next Market organizer wrote in an email to affected vendors.

"The venue had to cancel this event and won't be moving forward with hosting us for the market in which we were scheduled to arrive early morning on June, 25, 2023. The final call was made at midnight," the email continued. 

"I know that most of you are going to be extremely upset, angry, and/or disappointed with this announcement, especially after I ensured this would not happen despite what people had been saying. After having cancelled two markets last minute this month due to surgery and now this unforeseen circumstance, we won't be scheduling anymore Toronto markets from here on out." 

The event was scheduled to take place at a venue hosted by Messy House TO, called Woolfitt's at 1153 Queen St. W. The company released a statement on its Instagram page after several small businesses inquired about the cancelled market. 

"It's come to our attention that none of the small businesses/vendors have received refunds from the Next Market organizer. Unfortunately we were never paid by them either," the statement reads. 

"If you're one of the vendors from the Next Market event, please DM us. We're offering everyone multiple free days across all of our venues for pop-ups, content creation, etc. We'll make sure these are prime summer weekend dates and we'll also provide free display furniture for anyone who needs it."

In a message to an affected vendor, Messy House TO claims that they had reminded the event organizer that payment needed to be made prior to them providing access to the space. 

"This was clearly stated in the contract as well. As of last night she had not made any payment and said she would only be able to make payment after the event had started which is not something we can accommodate," the message reads. 

"The story from Messy House is that she failed to make the payment in advance and they were clear about their policy. There is no acceptable reason for this on her part," owner of Zenny Jane, Emilie Washington said. "Not only are we out our fees, we are out the significant time and effort we put into preparation. Not to mention those who had to travel to attend the event."

The Next Market organizer informed affected customers that all refunds will be issued before June 30. 

"I've been doing my best to listen/respond to feedback and I will be doing the right thing by ending The Next Market after all obligations have been taken care of. We'll be moving forward with the few pre-scheduled events locally near home but will not be planning any new markets and will be ceasing the business," the email reads.

Owner of Queen Candles, Miranda Alexeichenko, told blogTO that this isn't the first time the market organizer has cancelled an event at the last minute. 

According to Alexeichenko, a market planned for the end of May was similarly cancelled at 6 a.m. on the same day via email. 

"A few days later she sent a follow-up email asking us if we wanted a refund or an alternative date with her in the future. However, she never went through any of the forms or got back to anyone via email again," she told blogTO. 

"Personally I had to contact her via Instagram again multiple times requesting for a refund. She gave a bunch of excuses saying she would send it the next day or later on each time, but I had to follow up with her multiple times on it to even get anywhere and even threaten legal action." 

While Alexeichenko finally received a refund two weeks later, she believes other vendors are still waiting on payments from May. 

"It appeared that she would only refund people after she got new vendors to sign up for the June date that was supposed to occur yesterday. It was like a cycle of taking on new vendors and refunding the old vendors with that money," she said. 

On Monday morning, the market organizer officially pulled the plug on all their future operations after facing a flurry of backlash.

"The Next Market will be shutting down. All future events will be cancelled effective immediately and vendors will be contacted by email with more information and refund updates," the announcement reads. 

Affected vendors are now patiently waiting to see if their refunds will be issued within the next five days as promised. 

Lead photo by

The Next Market

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