ADRIAN – A new era of farmers markets and outdoor vending machines will be welcomed to Adrian this weekend.
The new Adrian City Market at the Pavilion will debut for the 2022 season on Saturday, May 21 at the Farmers Market Pavilion along Toledo Street in downtown Adrian. Market hours will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a groundbreaking ceremony will mark the opening of the market season. The first 100 guests at the market will receive a free canvas market bag.
The Adrian City Market is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through October 1.
Local business owner, longtime resident, and member of Adrian’s school board, Jay Marks is the market master of the city’s market, a role to which he was appointed by the City of Adrian’s Commission in February when talk of making Adrian’s Town Market a reality for the summer months began to take shape.
Marks and his wife, Gwynne, own and operate The Marks Trading Co., a specialty food company primarily known for its spices and spice blends. The business, Marks said, has been around for at least five years. Assistance through the Launch Lenawee program not only helped the Marks start their business, but also provided them with the tools and resources to sustain their business. They took their produce all over the county to other farmers markets and outlets. They are also available at the Adrian Meijer store and at 16 Busch’s grocery stores.
“It’s been a process for us,” Jay said. “We wanted to take ownership of a small business at a slow pace to make sure we were doing it right.”
Because he and his wife have been involved in small business and vendor sales, Marks said he understands the importance of community outdoor markets and what they mean for vendors and buyers. Discussions with customers and other suppliers and word-of-mouth are key, he said, to selling successfully in the marketplace.
“By being in these markets, we understand what works and what doesn’t,” he said.
Adrian’s Town Market will not only feature local produce and merchandise vendors, but there will also be community organizations present at each market event, such as the Lenawee County Health Department, the Office of Michigan State University Extension and the Adrian District Library. Partnering with local organizations at the City Market, Marks said, will give the public the opportunity to engage with organizations and services available to them in the area.
There are more than 20 market vendors lined up to offer their wares this Saturday, including fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, honey, fresh flowers and plants, bakers and candies and handicrafts.
Food trucks, performances, music, visual arts, nutrition programs, cooking demonstrations and participation from Adrian Public Schools and the Croswell Opera House are all expected in the coming months. Marks said the goal of the Adrian City Market was to be more of a community gathering than just a weekly market.
“We want to make it a big event,” he said. “We want everyone to have a reason to be there every week and to come.”
The Adrian City Market is on both Facebook and Instagram. Brands can be contacted at [email protected] As vendors are confirmed for this weekend’s opening event, more vendors are being invited to apply for a place at the city market, Marks said. As long as the products are handmade or grown on site, they will be accepted.
The Adrian City Market is funded this year by the City of Adrian, but in 2023 it will be managed by the Adrian Downtown Development Authority/Main Street board, of which Marks was recently named executive director. Much of the Main Street program, Marks said, is about revitalizing downtown areas and driving economic growth in communities. The Adrian City market, he said, should be able to accomplish both of these tasks.
When he was named Market Master in February, Marks’ selection was well received by the City Commission.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that you’re going to make this work and make it a success,” Commissioner Allen Heldt said at the committee’s meeting in February.
In addition to its weekly Saturday events, Adrian’s Town Market will also be open at the Toledo Street Pavilion during the first Fridays of June through October. In March, the commission applied for a T-Mobile Hometown Grant, which provides quarterly grants of up to $50,000 per city and focuses on community projects in small towns. The DDA/Main Street Board of Directors expressed their favor in applying for the grant and using any money awarded for renovations and improvements to the Farmers Market Pavilion, including electrical upgrades – to add 220 outlets volts for food trucks, live bands, etc. – and the installation of public toilets.