Attendance at the 2nd Street Market on Sundays will need to rival Friday crowds if the pilot program is to last beyond this summer.
That likely means about 1,000 or more people will have to patronize the indoor market during its new, extended hours.
But the success of the pilot program also will hinge on the level of vendor participation and feedback from customers and vendors.
“We’d like to see a representation of all our types of vendors,” said Jimmy Harless, 2nd Street Market manager. “The three most important would be food service, grocery and produce vendors, or grower producers.”
Five Rivers MetroParks recently revealed it will test out Sunday hours at 2nd Street Market between June 4 and Aug. 27. The new hours will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The market currently is open Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The market has been at Second and Webster streets for 15 years.
If the pilot program goes well, the market will plan to bring back the program next year and possibly expand it, Harless said.
MetroParks leadership indicated it’s possible the new hours — if popular — could be implemented year round.
Attendance wise, the Sunday market this year hopefully can pull down Friday-like numbers, said Amy Forsthoefel, MetroParks’ research and analysis manager.
“We’re not going to strive for a Saturday number, but if we get a Saturday number — amazing,” she recently told the MetroParks board.
During the peak summer months, the market draws about 1,000 to 1,200 people on Fridays. Thursdays get similar numbers.
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But Saturdays take the cake with about 5,000 weekly visitors during the summer.
Last Saturday, Harless met with vendors to inform them about the pilot program. He planned to meet with them once more for this purpose.
Vendors will have until April 1 to notify the market whether they wish to open up on Sundays.
In March, 34 vendors worked at the market all three days of the market’s operation. The number of vendors at the market fluctuates, largely since there are seasonal sellers and Saturday-only artisan vendors.
“I’m really excited — I hope it’s a success,” Harless said. “It looks like from the survey, people really want to come.”
A survey of market customers found that nearly one in three respondents (31 percent) said they were dissatisfied or extremely dissatisfied with the facility’s hours.
The vast majority of people said they would increase their spending at the market if it added hours.
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