SoWa Market Looks to Lose Saturdays, Focus on Sunday Only

The SoWa Market brought excitement to Saturdays on Harrison Avenue last summer, but organizers said it just wasn’t enough excitement to go forward for a second year.

SoWa’s Bradley St. Amand said the market operated on Saturdays and Sundays last year with success, but the new Saturday market didn’t do great for everyone.

So, this summer they plan to re-focus just on Sunday.

“We sat down and talked about it for this year, and we decided it wasn’t working best for everyone,” he said. “We decided to go back and focus on one killer day instead of two. It was a tough decision. It did accomplish what we wanted it to by bringing people into the area on Saturday and revitalizing Saturdays. A lot of our shops and restaurants were happy with the Saturday addition. Restaurants could add a brunch and that helped them. On the flip side, it was a struggle for the vendors. I don’t know if it was great for all of them.”

The SoWa Market has operated on Sundays for about 10 years, and added the Saturday last year – though it was controversial in the neighborhood. The Old Dover Neighborhood Association held a contentious vote on the matter in the spring of 2017, with a good majority of neighbors approving the extra day.

That said, there was still some resistance, and St. Amand said that also figured into the decision.

“I think if the neighborhood would have been 100-percent supportive of it we would have continued doing it anyway, but there were still pockets of resistance so it wasn’t worth it,” he said.

St. Amand said there were certainly new people brought into the market, and estimated that about 20 to 30 percent new people came on Saturdays. However, another 20 percent likely moved from Sunday to Saturday, and the numbers of new customers just wasn’t enough for vendors.

The matter is scheduled to come up on the agenda at the Old Dover at its meeting on Feb. 20.

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