Advertisement

W.Va. businesswomen defy eviction and reopen Really Really Free Market

April 28, 2013|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Maria Allen, left, and Lillian Potter-Saum organized Sunday's return of the Really Really Free Market on the wall in front of McMurran Hall in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
Photo by Richard F. Belisle

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — The wall in front of Shepherd University’s McMurran Hall Sunday was again graced with the unwanted flotsam of daily living in open defiance of an edict earlier this month by the McMurran Hall Board of Trustees and university officials that evicted the community Really Really Free Market.

Two maverick downtown businesswomen, Lillian Potter-Saum, owner of The Local Source at 133 1/2 W. German St., and Maria Allen, owner of Maria’s Taqueria at 111 W. German St., said they reopened the market on their own to protest the closing and to show support for the volunteers who established it five years ago.

Robbie Glenn, a 24-year-old Shepherd student, organized the market with three friends as a community service and greeting place where residents could drop off or pick up unwanted household and other goods. It ran one weekend a month. Glenn said he did not seek permission from the university for the market.

Glenn, of 206 S. King St., said he learned Saturday that the women were planning to set up the market on Sunday.

“I’m not involved in anything to do with that,” he said.

All he has been doing in terms of the market was drafting a mission statement to present to Shepherd President Suzanne Shipley explaining why he wants it to continue somewhere in the community, he said.

Shepherd officials could not be reached for comment Sunday.

John E. Stealey, one of the three McMurran trustees, said he would discuss the new development with his fellow board members.

“It’s a free country,” Stealey said. “People can try to do whatever they want. I guess they’ll protest.”

The resurrection of the market seemed to be catching on as patrons were crowding around checking what was being dropped off. Several residents thanked the women for bringing the market back.

“We feel the wall is the proper place for the Really Really Free Market,” Potter-Saum said. “It’s the center of the community, regardless of who owns it. This is community space.”

“The wall in front of McMurran Hall is the gateway between the town and the university,” Allen said.

“There were five of us who thought this up,” Potter-Saum said of the decision to bring the market back to the wall. “We’re doing it to support Robbie Glenn. He’s not part of this protest.”

The women, in a handout flier, said, “The RRFM has not only helped the environment by recycling, but it has also helped impoverished families obtain goods without cost.” 

The market was closed on grounds that “a few business owners complained that it was blemishing the Shepherd brand and was unsightly for tourists,” the flier reads.

McMurran Hall was built after the Civil War and served as the then-new Shepherd College’s first classroom and administration space in 1872. The building, still in use by the school, was turned over to the three-member board of trustees to manage.

Advertisement
The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|