Newell addresses Capitol Market vendors

CHARLESTON – Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell presented information to potential vendors Wednesday on the city’s new marketplace set to open this fall.

Newell and state Agricultural Commissioner Walt Helmick spoke to a group of vendors at Charleston’s Capitol Market.

Parkersburg’s new Farmers’ Marketplace at 113 Ann St. will officially open its doors Oct. 5 as part of the city’s Winter Market.

Newell said he expects some of the Charleston vendors to be on hand for the Winter Market opening.

“We already knew there was a considerable amount of interest, but I talked to at least 6 or 7 vendors who are looking to expand here,” he said. “It isn’t competition with the Capitol Market because we are 75 miles away, but there are vendors there who are looking to expand into Parkersburg.”

Newell said he expects some of those initial offerings to consist of flowers and pumpkins which are typical for the fall season.

When the permanent marketplace opens in the summer, though, he believes a half-dozen or more vendors from outside of the area will be selling West Virginia produced products, from actual produce to crafts.

“The thrust of the presentation today was a focus on West Virginia products,” Newell said. “That has been a major emphasis of the state Department of Agriculture. They want to establish these kinds of markets all around the state.”

Newell said the Winter Market will be one weekend a month until the summer marketplace opens next year. The city and state are making plans for a special December market event, which will feature holiday and seasonal products.

“We may even have a vendor selling live Christmas trees,” he said.

Newell said while the market is excited to have vendors from outside the area, there is still a big push to keep local vendors involved.

“Jackson County, for example, has four or five big producers, and it is just as easy for them to come to us as it is for them to go to Charleston,” he said.

Newell said the most frequently asked question during Wednesday’s presentation concerned parking. Newell said he believes the local market, inside the floodwall next to Point Park, will be able to accommodate customers.

Utility crews this week are installing gas and sewer lines, and work on a paved parking lot behind the marketplace is expected to begin next week. Newell said there is additional parking nearby and in Point Park.

Crews finished installing part of a roof last week, paid for by the McDonough Foundation, and work has begun inside of the building.

About half of the building will be finished and opened in time for the Oct. 5 Winter Market kickoff.

Newell said crews will continue working to install walk-in coolers and freezers, as well as outside decking in the months to come.