Sunday Market stays – for now
The third time was the charm for the Sunday Market.
After hearing from opponents and supporters, the Nevada City council voted 2-1 Wednesday night to extend the life of the Stonehouse Restaurant’s parking lot market until Sept. 28.
Mimi Boardman was hoping the council would allow the market to continue operating until Oct. 26. In addition to seeing her proposed market season cut short, the council also decided the market could only operate from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Previously, it was open until 2 p.m.
“While no one is ever completely happy with a compromise, we are satisfied with the council’s decision,” Boardman said after the vote.
The Sunday Market, which Boardman has called a “deluxe garage sale,” has been source of contention for some downtown business merchants, who claim the market in the restaurant’s parking lot is costing them business they desperately need in the current sluggish economy.
Jim and Peggy McConnaughay, who own Country Collectibles, and Gary Stollery, who owns the Toad Hall Book Shop, said vendors are setting up shop at the market and competing directly against their businesses.
“What direction is the town going?” Peggy McConnaughay asked. “I’m not sure I want to stay here much longer.”
Boardman’s supporters included the Classic Café owner Kirk Valentine and the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce board, which voted Monday night to sponsor the Sunday Market through October.
Bob Buhlis, who represented the chamber at the meeting, said some merchants believe the event is good for business, and others, particularly book and antique stores, say it is costing them money in terms of lost business.
Boardman produced a petition with more than 100 signatures supporting the market and a survey of customers who say they would not have visited Nevada City if it weren’t for the Sunday Market.
Councilman David McKay recused himself from the vote due to his relationship with the chamber. He was, however, the first to testify for the Sunday Market.
“It’s a very good thing,” he said. “Sunday mornings are quiet and this is bringing people into town and they are eating and shopping here.”
Councilman Robert Bergman also recused himself from the discussion and vote, saying that he lived too close to the Stonehouse.
Council members Reinette Senum and Sally Harris voted to end the market on Sept. 25. Councilwoman Barbara Coffman opposed that date and voted no. She had wanted to see the market closed on Sept. 7.
To contact Staff Writer Pat Butler, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4239.
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