Despite grumblings, chamber backs Sunday Market
The Sunday Market at the Stonehouse Restaurant has received the support of Nevada City’s Chamber of Commerce for at least another four weeks, even though some business owners are starting to grumble about the new event.
The Nevada City council will decide Wednesday night whether to allow the market to continue beyond its initial four weeks in the restaurant’s parking lot on Sacramento Street.
Two store owners sent written complaints to the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce before board members met Monday, contending vendors at the market have a competitive advantage over established businesses that must pay taxes, fees and overhead.
“It’s surprising to me that somebody can set up a business there with no investment. Pretty soon, the mom-and-pops will be at the flea market like everyone else,” said Marilyn Tubbs of Main Street Antiques and Books.
The market is not meant to compete with downtown merchants but to increase the visibility of the downtown, Stonehouse owner Mimi Boardman said.
“We’re going to work to minimize the problem,” she said Friday. “It’s our objective to bring new people to Nevada City who wouldn’t normally be here.”
Boardman will begin collecting sales tax from repeat vendors and will reject applicants who have businesses in different communities, she said. She welcomes Nevada City merchants who want to display their goods, she added.
The number of vendors and range of merchandise offered has increased each week. Last Sunday, 35 people showed up to sell jewelry, antiques, watches, collectibles, art, CDs and what Boardman has described as “deluxe garage sale” items.
The sales goes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In her letter to the chamber, Tubbs asked, “How can brick-and-mortar compete with sellers who have zero invested? These sellers are setting up their shop at best/high visitor season, while we have been open and supporting the town all year, through rain and snow.”
Stacy Colin, of Harmony Books, also wrote to the chamber citing similar concerns. She declined to comment about the market when contacted. Other book store owners have voiced concerns, too.
Not all merchants agree with them.
Pat Dyer, who owns the Utopian Stone jewelry store on Broad Street, compared the Sunday Market to Victorian Christmas, where vendors are allowed to set up kiosks in front of businesses.
The market is good for business in the long run, he said.
“It’s a very colorful event and good for the town. Merchants need to look at the big picture,” said Dyer, who brought his Model T to last Sunday’s market.
Chamber President Jeff Ackerman, who also is publisher of The Union, said the business group decided to lend its support for another four weeks at its June 16 meeting. Chamber officials will continue to evaluate the market and discuss it again at their July meeting.
Boardman received the City Council’s approval to start the market on May 25 after the chamber agreed to sponsor the event. At that time, council members agreed to review the market at their June 24 meeting.
To contact Staff Writer Pat Butler, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4239.
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