A few months ago, the Chamber’s Executive Director attended a meeting with key stakeholders, and had the opportunity to share the concerns of our members with city staff and members of the council. We appreciated the opportunity to collaborate and work to come up with the best idea possible to address the concerns of so many, when it comes to Market Night.
While it’s certainly understandable that members of the community and some businesses want a return of Market Night on Thursdays, it is important to note how many problems can be solved by this new solution.
For example, many members and businesses on State Street close early to avoid their customers, and employees’ vehicles from getting towed starting two hours (around 3pm) before the event starts. This accounts for loss in revenue during the work week. That combined with the event itself, starting at 5pm, with the closure extended for hours afterwards, only makes that problem worse.
Having a Saturday Morning Market, would allow for less expense on the City’s behalf for towing vehicles, and for merchants to have an entire day back of the work-week.
Most recently, we’ve heard concerns from businesses that have closed on Thursday nights to avoid issues related to theft and other crimes. They tell us that teenagers who came from outside the city came to “Market Night,” would steal, break things, or harass customers. They might loiter in the area for hours after the event ended.
Having a Saturday Morning Market, would be best because the demographic of people attending, which would actually be more family-friendly. Saturday morning also allows for street vendors to have a time and place, and when they pack up, Sate Street can reopen at 12pm, to allow for normal business to resume. This creates economic development opportunities, where as before, after “Market Night,” shops are closed when the actual event is over. Saturday, again, creates new opportunities for the community to take advantage of downtown.
Parking is also something to consider. Generally, Saturday mornings will be better suited for a mass gathering of residents, wanting to attend. As the city prepares for construction on the Mall redevelopment and the loss of the parking lot around it, thinking about ways to offset and mitigate the impact to allow for people to get to the area is critical.
Finally, incorporating the Farmer’s Market aspect, versus a normal street fair, will ensure a high-quality crop of merchants, that will be at the level the community has come to expect and deserve. We would hope that the focus would be less on general sportswear and merchandise, and incorporating more of the artisan, hand-crafted, and original products that local vendors can produce. Seeing Redlands-based businesses included in the Market would be a high-priority for us, and of course attracting nearby street vendors as well.