New Adrian City Market at the Pavilion to have grand opening Saturday

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Local business owner, longtime resident and Adrian school board member Jay Marks is the market master of the new Adrian City Market at the Pavilion, which debuts for the 2022 season Saturday, May 21, at the Toledo Street pavilion in downtown Adrian.
Local business owner, longtime resident and Adrian school board member Jay Marks is the market master of the new Adrian City Market at the Pavilion, which debuts for the 2022 season Saturday, May 21, at the Toledo Street pavilion in downtown Adrian.

ADRIAN — A new era of farmers markets and outdoor vending will be welcomed into Adrian this weekend.

The newly formed Adrian City Market at the Pavilion will debut for the 2022 season Saturday, May 21, at the Farmers Market Pavilion along Toledo Street in downtown Adrian. Market hours will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will kick off the market’s season opening. The first 100 guests to the market will receive a free canvas market bag.

The Adrian City Market is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through Oct. 1.

Local business owner, longtime resident and Adrian school board member Jay Marks is the city market’s market master, a role he was appointed to by the Adrian City Commission in February when talks of making the Adrian City Market a reality for the summer months began to take shape.

Marks and his wife, Gwynne, own and operate The Marks Trading Co., a speciality food business primarily known for its signature spices and spice blends. The business, Marks said, has been around for at least five years. Assistance through the Launch Lenawee program helped the Markses not only start up their business but provided them with the tools and the resources necessary to sustain their business for longevity. They have taken their products throughout the county to other farmers markets and vending locations. They are also available at the Adrian Meijer store and the 16 Busch’s grocery stores.

“It’s been a process for us,” Jay said. “We wanted to take small business ownership at a slow pace to make sure we were doing things right.”

Because he and his wife have been involved with the small business and vendor side of sales, Marks said he understands the importance of community outdoor markets and what they mean to both vendors and shoppers. Talking with customers and other vendors and word-of-mouth information are critical, he said, to the success of market vending.

"Through being in those markets, we understand what works and what doesn’t work,” he said.

The Adrian City Market will not only feature local produce and goods vendors, but there will also be community organizations present at each market event, such as the Lenawee County Health Department, the Michigan State University Extension office 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 goods this Saturday including fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, honey, fresh flowers and plants, bakers and sweets, and handmade crafts.

Food trucks, live entertainment, music, visual arts, nutritional 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 is to be more of a community gathering than simply a weekly market.

“We want to make this into a great event,” he said. “We want everybody to have a reason to be there each week and to come down.”

The Adrian City Market is on both Facebook and Instagram. Marks can be contacted at adriancitymarket@gmail.com. While vendors are confirmed for this weekend’s grand-opening event, additional vendors are welcome to apply for a spot at the City Market, Marks said. As long as products are handmade or homegrown, they will be accepted.

The Adrian City Market is being funded this year by the city of Adrian, but in 2023 it will be under the operation of the Adrian Downtown Development Authority/Main Street board, which Marks was recently named the executive director of. A large portion of the Main Street program, Marks said, is about the revitalization of downtowns and spurring economic growth in communities. The Adrian City Market, he said, should be able to accomplish both of those tasks.

When he was appointed as the market master in February, Marks’ selection was well received by the city commission.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that you are going to make this work and make it successful,” commissioner Allen Heldt said during the commission’s meeting in February.

In addition to its weekly Saturday events, the Adrian City Market will also be open at the Toledo Street Pavilion during First Fridays from June-October. In March, the commission applied for a T-Mobile Hometown Grant, which awards quarterly grants of up to $50,000 per town and focuses on community projects in small towns. The DDA/Main Street board expressed its favor of applying for the grant and using any awarded money for renovations and upgrades at the Farmers Market Pavilion, including electrical upgrades — to add 220-volt outlets for food trucks, live bands, etc. — and the installation of public restrooms.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: Adrian City Market at the Pavilion opening Saturday