Sounds silly? Sunday Market booms | ParkRecord.com

Sounds silly? Sunday Market booms

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Ron Wooley Sunday waits for his next customer, watching as about 10 people browse his store and noticing the unexpectedly big crowds passing by on the Main Street sidewalk.

Wooley owns Down Under Dreaming, which stocks imported goods from Australia and elsewhere, and says his store is seeing good business from people who otherwise would not visit Main Street on a Sunday.

The street, Wooley’s store included, is buzzing with people at the new and already popular Park Silly Sunday Market, a weekly bazaar of artists, craftsmen and food booths. The market debuted in mid-June and the organizers plan to extend it through the early fall, an attempt to further enliven Main Street even as it has enjoyed widening summertime appeal anyway.

"If they come in my shop and see something that’s interesting, they’re going to buy it," Wooley says, not worried people will spend their money at the Sunday Market’s booths instead of his shop.

On June 17, the debut of the Sunday Market, Wooley’s sales were up 40 percent from a typical Sunday, he reports, crediting the market for the uptick. That day, Wooley kept his store open two hours later than the regular 5 p.m. closing.

"We had a really good Sunday," he says.

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The Sunday Market is among the most ambitious recent bids to secure Main Street’s reputation as the most famous shopping, dining and entertainment destination in the Park City area. It is organized by a not-for-profit organization, separate from the Main Street merchants, and has the backing of City Hall, among other groups.

"People have said, ‘This is becoming a locals’ ritual," says Jewels Harrison, who makes the Sunday Market schedule and chooses vendors. "That was our intention. I’m psyched."

Harrison reports City Hall staffers counted about 2,500 people at each of the first two Sundays. The Sunday Market provides space for between 70 and 100 vendors each week and the organizers have received more than 300 applications, she says.

The crowds are especially welcome on lower Main Street, which is closed to traffic for the Sunday Market. The businesses north of Heber Avenue, which is downhill from the busy Main Street-Heber Avenue intersection, have long complained they are not as busy as those on upper Main Street and there have been different ideas to boost business, including re-labeling the plaza shops at the Marriott Summit Watch.

"In general, the events we have on the street all contribute to the economic viability of the street, the importance of Main Street as a place to go to," says Ken Davis, the Main Street merchants’ leader, indicating business on the two Sundays was up at his Cows and Java Cow, which are on the upper stretches of the street, away from the Sunday Market.

drawing people to the Sunday Market, Davis says, other businesses will benefit.

The revelry at Doolan’s, a bar just off the Sunday Market and located in the renamed The Shops at the Village on Main, is apparent on Sunday, as people move in and out. The owner, Kevin Doolan, says Sunday business is up 20 percent from an average summer Sunday since the marketplace started, causing him to add two servers and one cook to the Sunday timesheet. Sales are "excellent," he says.

"It can easily turn into the place to be," he says, acknowledging he was worried about business at Doolan’s since food and drink are sold at the Sunday Market.

Nearby, however, David Schultz, who owns a photography gallery, is waiting for customers. Before the Sunday Market started, more customers were in the gallery, he says.

"It’s the event. That’s what people are coming in to see," he says, disagreeing with the idea that more people on Main Street results in big sales.

A boy, apparently a visitor for the Sunday Market, enters Schultz’s gallery as the crowds continue to mill about the booths. He asks for change for a $100 bill. Schultz says he cannot break the bill and the boy leaves.

"I don’t think they’re coming in to visit the local businesses," Schultz says. "At least they’re not coming in here."