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Organizers hope to keep Saturday market at current location
For the last few months, organizers, vendors and customers have been concerned about the future of the Redmond Saturday Market (RSM).
This is because since JSH Properties, Inc. took over ownership of the Redmond Town Center (RTC) last year there have been discussions about the possibility of the market moving locations.
According to earlier reports, the discussions included the possibility of the RSM, located at 7730 Leary Way downtown, moving to Center Court at RTC or other locations in town.
"Ultimately, we want to stay where we're at," said RSM President Pete Godwin.
He said currently, the market does not have a lease for the 2015 season and they have been looking at other property around Redmond such as Marymoor Park.
"We've got to have a backup plan," Godwin said.
Market Director Nicole Wrigley said since the news of a possible move came out, many people have been asking her and the other organizers at RSM questions about the market's future.
"It's hard to know what to tell them," she said, because there has not been anything concrete to tell them.
Wrigley said the consensus from people is that, "they don't want the market to move at all."
Godwin added that they have collected about 3,000 signatures from customers who would like the market to stay where it is.
WANTING TO STAY PUT
Some of the reasons people want the market to stay put are that moving to the town center would change the feel of the market and vendors would be competing with the businesses at the outdoor mall — Wrigley said one customer pointed out that it is Redmond Saturday Market, not Redmond Saturday Mall.
"It is a farmer's market," she said. "It's not a big business."
Wrigley said others didn't like that the market would be on the concrete if it moved to the town center.
She added that since the news of a possible move came out, RSM has received a lot of support from the community. Representatives from the market recently spoke at a Redmond City Council meeting about the importance of keeping the market where it is and Wrigley said four market customers spoke up, as well, which RSM organizers did not expect.
"That was really nice to hear," she said.
For Redmond resident Ursula Craig, some of the things she enjoys about RSM are its central and accessible location and convenient layout to accommodate all the vendors. She also likes that there is entertainment at the gazebo onsite as well as adequate free parking for visitors and onsite parking for vendors.
"I am a senior citizen and happen to live within walking distance to the RSM, which means a great deal to me," Craig said. "Needless to say, I am not in support of moving the RSM to a different location."
A POSSIBLE SECOND MARKET
Steve Hansen, president of JSH, said for now the market will not be moving.
"We had talked about moving the market, but that idea has been squelched at this time and the foreseeable future," he said.
He said JSH has a lease with the market and they hope this continues in the future.
This being said, Hansen said they have spoken with market organizers about expanding the market to Center Court.
"But it's just talk at this time," he said.
In addition to expanding in size, Hansen said there are also talks of expanding the times of year the market is open.
Godwin said there has been talk of holding a market during the winter at Center Court. He said if this were to happen, it would not be run by RSM, but they might help in introducing vendors to the JSH team. RSM would also help JSH by providing a packet of information on how to start and run a market, Godwin said.
He added that if JSH decides to hold a market at Center Court, they could poll their current vendors to see who might be interested in moving over there. RSM would also jury new vendors specifically for the RTC location. Godwin said there may be some types of vendors who may benefit from being in a second location, such as those selling clothing.
Wrigley said if things are expanded to the town center, there are still details such as which vendors will be moving, when they will be there, their hours of operation, access to their vehicles and more to work out before anything is finalized.
"Things are really up in the air," she said.