- Michael Cooper Staff Writer
The Springfield Farmer’s Market will open in the winter months for the first time next year at a local brewery as local leaders continue to examine opening a year-round marketplace.
The 13-week Springfield Farmer’s Market will be held on Saturday mornings beginning Jan. 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mother Stewart’s Brewing Company, 109 W. North St., Clark County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau Director Chris Schutte said.
The Market at Mother’s will feature locally-grown, locally-produced and handmade goods from about 15 different vendors, depending on response, he said. The market will be held in the brewing area during taproom hours, Schutte said.
It has several commitments from vendors who produce eggs, cheese, baked goods and other foods, he said. It’s unclear how much produce will be available during the off-season market, Schutte said.
“There will absolutely be food at the market,” he said.
Last winter, local business leaders began examining returning a historic building in downtown Springfield to its original use — a year-round indoor marketplace and commercial kitchen at the former Myers Market building at 101 S. Fountain Ave. The 100-year-old building most recently housed United Senior Services before it moved to another downtown location in October of 2016.
As leaders continued to discuss the idea, the farmer’s market wanted to bring vendors inside for a trial run to an indoor market in the winter months, Schutte said. He was approached by Mother Stewart’s brewmaster Kevin Loftis about moving the marketplace indoors next month, he said. The market had already began looking at other sites, he said.
“Naturally, we were thrilled,” Schutte said. “None of them had the ambiance of Mother Stewart’s. It has everything you would want.”
A City Market Committee has been established with members that include the city of Springfield, the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Clark County Combined Health District, the Ohio State University Extension Office, nonprofit SpringForward and vendors.
SpringForward — a non-profit focused on targeting investments on existing properties to revitalize the city’s urban center — is in the early stages of looking into purchasing or leasing the building, which is owned by the city of Springfield, said Ted Vander Roest, executive director of the Springfield Foundation.
They are currently in negotiations, he said. They’ve also completed preliminary drawings, cost estimates and are working with a consultant to figure out how to run it and what equipment is needed, he said.
“We hope to have that wrapped up soon,” Vander Roest said. “It’s a wonderful idea.”
The winter market will also be a good trial run for any future marketplace, he said.
“It keeps some of the momentum going,” Vander Roest said.
The trial winter market will provide data about the demand in the off-season months, as well as vendors who may want to move indoors, Schutte said.
It will also include live music and food trucks, allowing visitors to drink locally-produced beer while searching for local goods.
“We’re going to continue a lot of the things we traditionally do,” Schutte said. “It becomes a really nice Saturday destination when there’s not a great deal to do. I hope it’s going to really turn into a destination.”
The market will be accepting vendor applications through Dec. 8, he said.
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