Local farmers, vendors move to indoor market | ParkRecord.com

Local farmers, vendors move to indoor market

Alisha Self, Of the Record staff

The Park City Farmers Markets at The Canyons and The Yard have come to an end, but starting this weekend, shoppers can peruse local produce, art and merchandise without braving frigid temperatures.

For more than a year, the space sandwiched between Molly Blooms restaurant and Park City Coffee Roasters at Kimball Junction has been sitting vacant.

Enter Kurt Von Puttkammer, the architect who designed the business complex, and Jesse Swing, founder of the Park City-based nonprofit Heal the Snow. The duo has collaborated on sustainable-living projects in the past and instantly recognized potential in the 3,200-square-foot space.

Von Puttkammer approached the building’s landlord about transforming the space into a year-round farmers market of sorts, and during the past few months, he and Swing have been hard at work morphing the space into The Market Hall.

The facility, which Swing describes as a "small-scale incubator retail market," offers opportunities for local farmers and businesses to sell their wares from rented booths as well as the chance for consumers to buy local products throughout the winter months.

On Saturday, Nov. 7, The Market Hall will be ready to make its grand debut. From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., the community is invited to a grand opening celebration to check out what the space has to offer and to meet the first occupants, which include Orion’s Music Shop, Calcium Springs Farm , The Original Way, Totally Gourmet, Silver Rose Bakery, Volker’s Bakery , Treehugger Granola, Canyon Meadows Beef and Flying Fish Seafoods.

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The marketplace, which is fully powered by solar energy, will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Von Puttkammer says that some vendors may choose to operate their booths on other days as well, but he doesn’t want to compete with other farmers markets when they reopen in the spring.

The space consists of 14 booths around the perimeter that may be rented at a rate of $275 to $350 per month. The vendors come in and set up shop however they like. According to Swing, the businesses must be based in the Wasatch region and priority will be given to those that are making sustainable choices or support a charitable cause.

The four booths in the center of the building will house weekly renters or provide space for community classes or special events. As the market grows, the center spaces will be rented out for $100 to $150 based on weekly themes such as renewable energy, organic food or skiing. For now, the rentals are first-come, first-served and available for $30 per week.

The Market Hall will feature many of the vendors that are mainstays at the Park City Farmers Markets as well as small businesses, artists and designers that can’t afford rent on their own building.

Volker Ritzinger, the owner of Volker’s Bakery and manager of the Park City Farmers Markets, was eager to jump on board. His bakery will rent a monthly booth and he is encouraging others to get involved.

"Everybody’s really excited about it," he says. He says the vendors have been waiting for an opportunity to sell their wares year-round, especially those with products that are not seasonal. "It’s great to have an opportunity to sell all year long, because people are looking for this specialty stuff," he says.

The goal of The Market Hall is three-fold, says Swing: to stimulate the local community, to provide new opportunities for businesses and consumers, and to promote and educate about sustainable practices. "We really want to bring every part of the community in," he says.

When the weather warms and the produce season is in full swing, The Market Hall will host a weekly farmers’ exchange each Thursday on the front patio. Local farmers or anyone with excess produce will be invited to trade or barter.

For more information on The Market Hall, participating vendors and upcoming events, visit http://www.themarkethall.org