The Mt. Airy Village Market returned for its grand opening Thursday after a two-year hiatus from Carpenter Lane and Greene Street—during which time it was housed on Germantown Avenue.
Although the market opened two weeks ago and saw some action when the UK Food Network came to showcase food truck Zea May’s, that was merely a soft opening.
From now on, market manager Ben Bergman (not related to GM Glenn Bergman) said, the market will be open every Thursday from 3-7 p.m.
Bergman said he hopes it helps keep the neighborhood corner a village square feel—especially once Weavers Way closes in late June for a six-week renovation.
And while the market was void of Zea May’s, Bergman said the Native American food truck will be back mid-June.
However, in addition to the two vendors that were at the soft opening—the Weavers Way farm and the farm stand Sorbello Girls—the market also showcased a jewelry maker and live music, courtesy of two Weavers Way employees.
“We’ve had a lot of traffic here and a lot of it is because we have live music here,” he said.
Both Ian Zolitor and Bill Quern said they experienced several people being drawn in to the market by their music as well.
“It’s another community aspect of it, showcase local talents and helps people find common ground with each other,” said Zolitor, who played guitar and sang.
Zolitor and Quern, who played the mandolin and sang among the passersby enjoying their music were several groups of dancing children and local clog dancers.
Devin McNutt, of Saffron Creations, said she joined the Village Market to sell her jewelry since she left the High Point Café Summer Market at Allen Lane Station, where she used to sell her products, has closed for good.
McNutt also sells her jewelry online and at various craft shows, but she said she likes to be involved in markets in her community.
“I just like getting to know the people that buy my jewelry and like my jewelry,” she said. “I like the community and the neighborhood.”
Bergman said all his vendors—in addition to the market’s attendees—understand the importance of increasing social interaction and sense of community.
“Here if you talk to Debbie Sorbello she’ll tell you how she grew it, how she picked it, how you can cook it, how long it’s going to last,” he said.
Sorbello, of Sorbello Girls of New Jersey, said she sees it as her responsibility to educate customers—she even supplies a weekly recipe to help shoppers utilize her products.
“I don’t just want to bag their product and ask for money,” she said. “I want to tell them a little bit about how it’s grown, what it tastes like, how they can use it so that it becomes more of an interactive experience.”
Shawnee Brown, a market attendee, said she lives around the corner from the market and ran into a friend she hadn’t seen in a few months.
She likes to attend the market to buy local, and thinks other Mt. Airy residents have similar values.
“People who live in this community love to support their community,” she said. “It’s green and lush and I think that projects the passion that people are for this area.”