Farmers’ Market moves, but stays popular
- Jun. 4, 2012
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The new location of the Westside Farmers’ Market is attracting both old and new customers.
After a recent and unexpected removal from its original location, the Westside Lawrence Farmers’ Market has a new home at Emprise Bank, 1121 Wakarusa Drive. This is just a few blocks south of its original location at the corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.
Thanks to some quick action by members of the community and market leaders, the Westside Market was without a home for only a few days.
“Business has actually been better since the move,” said Nicholas Kotlinksi, assistant coordinator for the Lawrence Farmers’ Market. “The bank has helped us a lot.”
The Westside Market started three years ago as part of an expansion project of the Lawrence Farmers’ Market. Its primary locations are in downtown Lawrence, one on Tuesday nights on Vermont Street and another on Saturday mornings on New Hampshire Street.
“They thought they could get a new market going and wanted to appeal to new clientele in west Lawrence,” Kotlinksi said.
The market ran into some trouble, however, when the tenants of the shopping center where it began voted to remove the Thursday market from the parking lot and reserve that space for their customers and their vehicles.
In the same shopping center occupied by the Salty Iguana, businesses such as Morningstar’s Pizza and Grinders recently opened shop. According to representatives of Concord Hospitality Services, the shopping center’s owner, this created a conflict, which was eventually resolved by the vote to remove the Lawrence Farmers’ Market.
Kotlinski said leaders of the market were flooded with offers for alternative locations. Pam Bramlett, market coordinator, made the decision that the larger amount of space at Emprise Bank would allow for more expansion and the grass would be cooler for the vendors, as opposed to the pavement of the previous location.
The vendors agree. On a recent Thursday evening, a mixture of families, students, and young professionals perused the wares, purchasing everything from ice cream from Ewig Family Dairy to freshly picked herbs and homemade quiche from Marilyn Pilkey and her Little Woods Bake Shop.
“I think this will be a great location,” Pilkey said. “The bank people have been really nice. They brought us water.”
The closer proximity of the street and the surrounding neighborhoods is also an advantage.
“I think that this one is going to be better,” said Katie Wohletz, a representative from one of the vendors, Wohletz Farm Fresh. “We have better visibility than before.”
The Westside Market will be held every Thursday evening from 4-6 p.m. until the end of October.
—Edited by Kelsey Cipolla