Farmers market set for weekend debut in Waynesboro

September 29, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - On Tuesday, it was little more than a big empty space. A single booth was filled with Avon products, a couple of shelves held some jars of honey and in one corner were the makings of a little coffee shop.

By Friday, the building at 117 Walnut St. will be jammed with more than 30 vendors selling everything from homegrown fruits and vegetables to home-baked pastries to a stand offering homemade potato chips to another offering limousine service, according to the manager of the new Waynesboro Old Thyme Farmers Market.

Homemakers, too, are welcome to set up tables at the market.

For its debut Friday, it runs from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and reopens Saturday for the same hours.

The idea for the farmers market rose from the ashes of a March 9 fire that destroyed the Leitersburg-area home of Mark A. and Pam Henry.


The couple was away at the time. They returned home to a pile of rubble spread over the ground next to a wooden deck left untouched by the flames, Mark Henry said.

He said he and his wife were known in their Leitersburg neighborhood for their large organic vegetable garden. Henry also has a landscape business which he continues to operate.

Harold Shapiro of Waynesboro owns the Walnut Street building. He learned of the Henrys' plight following their fire and offered them an apartment above the building "until we could get back on our feet," Henry said.

"He suggested that we open a farmers market in this space," Henry said. The building once housed a roller rink and bowling alley, later an outlet store, a flea market and most recently a warehouse for architectural antiques.

Henry said he went to MaryBeth Hockenberry, executive director of the Greater Waynesboro Area of Commerce, for advice and began to advertise for vendors through personal contacts and advertisements.

"We know a lot of farmers," he said.

Vendors will have to stay in their booths while the market is open and will sell their own products, Henry said.

Booths will line all four walls of the huge building.

Henry said one section in the middle will be dedicated as a "store," in which about 30 other vendors will rent small shelf spaces to hold their inventory. The store will have its own cashier to sell the items and collect the money, he said.

Pam Henry will run the coffee and pastry shop that will open just left of the main entrance. Homemade pastries will be featured.

The only booth set up Tuesday was Debbie Helm's large Avon display.

She said she expects to succeed in the Walnut Street market. "There's an Avon booth in a farmers market in Chambersburg (Pa.) and it does well," she said.

"It's quiet in here today," Mark Henry said. "All of the vendors will be coming in to set up Thursday. It will get real busy around here then."

Henry said he has faith that Waynesboro will support his venture.

"This is going to be a clean, well-maintained market and there's 115 parking spaces across the street," he said. "Waynesboro is growing. There's a Wal-Mart coming. I saw a recent market survey that said 30 percent of all the homes being sold around here are being bought by people from the Washington (D.C.) and Frederick (Md.) areas."

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