Silly Market a ‘perfect fit’ at Redstone |

Silly Market a ‘perfect fit’ at Redstone

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

The leader of the merchant association at Redstone Towne Center said in an interview on Monday his group will try to lure the Park Silly Sunday Market away from Main Street, saying that the weekly bazaar would fit well at the Kimball Junction shopping, dining and entertainment complex should negotiations between the Silly Market and City Hall fail.

The acknowledgment that the Redstone group wants to be a player in the highly charged discussions about the Silly Market comes less than a week after an unusually tense meeting between the Silly Market leaders and Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council. The elected officials last Thursday did not appear prepared to offer the Silly Market a long-term deal to continue staging the market on lower Main Street. Without the assurance a long-term agreement could be negotiated, the Silly Market side indicated another location would be sought.

It did not seem, though, talks with other suitors would start so quickly after the Thursday meeting and as Thanksgiving approached. But Tom Richardson, the owner of the Beadniks franchise at Redstone and the organizer of the merchants association, said in an interview the businesses there approached The Boyer Company, the Redstone developer, on Monday about the prospects of snagging the Silly Market. Richardson said his side wants to meet with Kimberly Kuehn, a cofounder of the Silly Market who leads the negotiations with City Hall, as soon as one can be arranged.

"We want to consider ourself the other Main Street, or the Main Street for families," Richardson said, adding, "It’s a perfect fit."

He said the Silly Market draws away some Sunday business at Redstone each week it is in operation. If the Silly Market is brought to Redstone, he said, business there would tick upward from a typical Sunday. He said Redstone would "welcome" the Silly Market and the event would be a "perfect fit." Richardson said he envisions the Silly Market being held on the main thoroughfare in Redstone, which has shops and restaurants on either side. He said the Silly Market would assist as Redstone continues "branding" itself apart from the other commercial districts in the Park City area.

It appears that Redstone could offer a formidable challenge to Main Street as the Silly Market talks continue. It has expansive parking lots, is situated close to many Snyderville Basin neighborhoods and it is closer to Salt Lake Valley market-goers than is Main Street. Redstone also has draws unrelated to the Silly Market, including a cinema, that could be attractive to people at the market.

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Redstone has been seen as being among the top competitors to Main Street since it debuted with boutiques and restaurants. It is upscale in relation to much of the rest of Kimball Junction, anchored by the Tanger Outlets. Observers expected Redstone to be under strong consideration for the Silly Market after the recent meeting with the City Council. Kuehn said at the meeting she would consider alternative locations, and there are just a few places in Park City or the Snyderville Basin that seem to be viable options for the Silly Market.

The Silly Market’s future on Main Street, where it has been situated throughout its three-year history, is in jeopardy following the recent City Council meeting. The Main Street merchants are divided between camps that want the Silly Market to remain or desire it to end its run on Main Street. The supporters say the Silly Market helps business on Main Street by attracting thousands of people each week, but the critics, especially those on the upper reaches of the street, argue that the Silly Market has funneled away customers. Some report that their Sunday sales are down significantly.

It is not clear what effects a Silly Market move to Redstone would have on Main Street. The merchants and restaurateurs on Main Street would need to woo people heading to the Silly Market, located six or so miles away. Or, they would have to count on attracting a different crowd of people on Sundays who might have avoided Main Street during the years of the Silly Market.

Kuehn said owners or high-level executives representing six locations interested in holding the Silly Market contacted her between the end of the City Council meeting and midday Monday. She refused to identify them and declined to reveal whether they are in the Park City limits. She said, though, they are easily accessible through the bus system and via the local network of trails. She expected to begin meetings with the representatives of the other locations on Tuesday.