The inside of the Chestnut Hill Farmer’s Market will be completely overhauled over the next several months.
With the help of e.vitalize, a marketing and consulting company, Ron and Abby Pete will rework the 7,000 square-foot space on Germantown Avenue for the first time in its 36-year history.
Morrisey Designs, a Philadelphia-based architecture company, was hired to create the new market’s “modern general store” aesthetic.
“Many people love the original Chestnut Hill Farmer’s Market, but we know there is a new, niche market for customers who are looking for something special and varied,” said Ron Pete in a news release.
Over the course of three phases, Eileen Reilly, who heads e.vitalize, will work to fill vendor vacancies, spruce up existing booths and potentially add new ones.
“It’s still going to have a lot of the same qualities,” said Reilly, the neighborhood’s former retail recruiter, “ but just like main street, vacancies hurt, so just shoring them up and plugging the holes with really high quality [vendors] will make everything better.”
The market currently has 15 spaces, six of which are sitting empty. Reilly said the new-look space, which will be rebranded as “MARKET,” could offer up to 20 vendors depending on the size of new booths built along the way.
“This space is unique and flexible, so the shopper can be sure with the new venture that there can be a lot of new experiences created,” said Reilly.
Work will be done in “geographic pods” to allow existing businesses to continue operating on the three days the market is currently open – Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Construction will occur on the market’s off-days.
By Christmas, Reilly hopes to have four new vendors at the market, including a high-end chocolate truffle maker, an Italian bistro and a prepared food outfit offering vegan and vegetarian options.
The rest of market’s new vendors are expected to be in place by March 2013.
Tweaks to current vendors will follow for a Spring 2013 finish. At that time, the market will start operating five days a week.
Reilly said a forthcoming Fresh Market location across the street did partially drive the decision to revamp the market’s image and expand its hours.
The gourmet supermarket is the centerpiece of a five-story, mixed-use development at 8200 Germantown Ave. The project, which includes retail spaces and a set of townhomes and condos, has yet to break ground.
“The idea is not necessary to compete with Fresh Market, but to complement it,” said Reilly “I’m going to try and create something that works harmoniously with it.”