Monday, June 12, 2006

New Public Market to Open in Monument Square

Four original vendors of the Portland Public Market have announced that they will form a new public market in the historic Clapp Building at 28 Monument Square, site of the former Surplus Store in the heart of downtown Portland.

Although the present Portland Public Market is closing, the four vendors are committed to carrying out the original vision of an in-town public market by providing a community gathering place that celebrates Maine people, food, crafts and agricultural traditions. The four vendors are Maine Beer & Beverage, K. Horton Specialty Foods, A Country Bouquet and Borealis Breads. Along with the four principal vendors selling beer, wine, beverages, cheese, deli, bread, pizza and flowers, the market may have several other permanent vendors selling a variety of other food or gift products. The new space will also provide day tables, carts and other space for farmers, arts and crafts people and other small businesses and food producers.

The new public market is adjacent to the farmers’ market which is held on Wednesdays in Monument Square, and will collaborate with the farmers, possibly providing support facilities to them including dry and cold storage. The market will feature Maine-grown produce, and has entered into agreements with local farmers to stock produce in the store. The market also intends to build a community kitchen that can be used by day renters, including international food vendors and food demonstration and cooking classes.

The new market will be run in a cooperative fashion, with a governing board made up of the principal vendors, and involving community input and participation. The vendors involved have been working together for eight years.

The new public market has received offers from architects, structural engineers, advertising and marketing specialists and other professionals in the effort to relocate to the new space. Plans are also in the works for selling market shares, a gift certificate program, business sponsorships and other fundraising methods. Work is under way to obtain the necessary permits and to build out the new space, with the grand opening anticipated by the end of the year.


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