By Larry Perl
But the goal is larger than simply opening a farmers' market. It's to attract a grocery store or supermarket to an area of the York Road corridor that has none. The location is more than a mile from the Giant in York Plaza in Cedarcroft and the Giant on 33rd Street in Waverly.
"The best outcome of this market would be that we could attract a larger grocer to the area. This (market) is to prove that there's a need (for a grocer) in the area," said Jonathan Hourcade, an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer who is organizing the market with a group of about a dozen business school students.
Govans hasn't had a large food store since a Save-A-Lot store closed in December of 2004 and was replaced by a Family Dollar store.
The planned farmers' market would be located on a Loyola parking lot at 5104 York Road next to a McDonald's restaurant and near the campus police headquarters.
Details such as what day of the week, hours and months the market would be open are still to be worked out. But it could run weekly from April to October if there's enough demand, Hourcade said.
Based on survey responses so far the market initially would most likely be open on a weekday, from May to August and from 3 to 7 p.m., Hourcade said.
Those details should be worked out by mid-January, he said.
The hardest part might be convincing farmers and other vendors to participate.
"Once we get the day and time locked down we have to start really marketing this to the farmers," he said. "It's kind of hard to market a market that doesn't exist."
Hourcade said eight to 12 vendors would be needed to start the market, and that Loyola already has insurance coverage for the lot.
The idea for the farmers' market grew out of the Loyola is Listening project, in which Loyola took the Govans area under its wing and surveyed residents about what they'd like to see in the neighborhood to improve quality of life.
A farmers' market would be beneficial to residents in the area, especially those who don't drive, said Erin O'Keefe, who leads Loyola's York Road Initiative.
"The Family Dollar doesn't sell any produce," O'Keefe said.
Hourcade is hopeful that the market will get off the ground and be a success with a lot of farmers selling their goods there.
"Farmers are always looking for new markets," he reasoned.
If they are talking about the corner of York Rd. & Woodbourne Ave., that corner use to have two grocery stores there. Where Rite Aid is was an A&P, but when it burned along with most of the block the business association didn't seem to think that another grocery store was needed. Across the street was a Food Fair that later became a Pantry Pride. It just seemed that after the fire that corner and that part of Govans just never seemed to have any luck. I hope that they can come up with something that works.
Posted 6:00 PM, 12.31.10