SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — A unanimous Planning Board decision last week will enable a farmers market to move inside the Maine Mall.
“We are trying to make sure the mall consumer is getting … access to local produce,” Maine Mall Marketing Director Stefanie Millette said last week.
The market will open from 2 to 6 p.m. each Friday through September, with room for 10 to 15 vendors.
Five vendors, including Gorham-based Liv With Roz Farm, Maine Homestead Farm from Arundel and Up-Beet Farm from Porter, have each paid the city’s $25 license fee. City Licensing Administrator Jessica Hanscombe said Wednesday she is processing three more applications.
Vendors also will be assessed a $10 weekly fee at the mall, Millette said, and in return get tables, chairs and coverings, as well as use of carts for hauling and access to a nearby loading dock.
Last year, the outdoor market operated near the corner of Gorham Road and Philbrook Avenue on Tuesdays.
“The farmers who were here last year who sold produce were very happy with the results,” she said.
Moving indoors with Friday hours will increase foot traffic and sales, Millette said.
Market fare will include produce, meats and dairy products, but not craft works that might already be available at mall tenants.
“They are selling things that go straight to the refrigerator or pantry,” Millette said.
The market also features courses and workshops on cultivating and preparing produce, especially the early crops, she said.
The change in operating hours meant the loss of last year’s roster of vendors, but Millette said those who have signed on are not worried about getting their goods to the indoor market.
The indoor market also fills a niche in the corporate strategy for mall owners General Growth Properties.
“This is a part of a community component GGP tries to set up,” Millette said about the Chicago-based company that owns malls throughout the country.
The indoor market is the second opened this year in the city. An outdoor market operates on Hinckley Drive by Mill Creek Park from 3 to 7 p.m. each Thursday.