By Jason KUROSU
This Sunday’s Montrose Shopping Park Harvest Market will feature a few alterations, primarily a change to the Thieves’ Market, now to be called the Montrose Harvest Marketplace. According to Montrose Shopping Park Association president Ken Grayson, the name change was made to stray away from what was perceived as a negative image associated with the name “Thieves’ Market.”
“We wanted to upgrade the image of the market,” said Grayson.
In a letter sent to all Marketplace vendors from the MSPA board of directors, it indicated that the change was made “in an effort to improve the overall look of the Market, attract high-caliber new vendors and maintain positive relations with the community…”
Pat Crowder, one of the vendors in the Marketplace, noted that she did not mind the name change.
“I was never wildly enthusiastic about being referred to as a thief,” she said.
However, outside of the name change, or more accurately the combining of the produce-heavy Harvest Market with the Thieves’ Market, there have been other changes, most notably a rate increase for the vendors within the Marketplace.
Marketplace manager and promotions coordinator Linda McMenamin said in an email, “There will be new pricing effective Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. In the Marketplace, 10×10 booths are $45 rather than $35. Vendors wanting a larger space may rent a 10×20 booth space for $75.”
McMenamin said that only about 7% of the vendors decided to leave the Marketplace after the implementation of the rate increase.
“Vendor attrition can be expected whenever changes are implemented,” McMenamin said. “Of the 68 previously juried and approved Marketplace vendors, five vendors decided to leave.”
The MSPA board also implemented other policies in its letter to the vendors as part of the effort to improve the market’s image, including rules about signage, space limitations and an emphasis on handmade goods.
“We’d like to refashion [the former Thieves’ Market] to having more handmade goods,” said Grayson. “There was a concern during one of the board meetings that some of the items being sold would be competing with items sold by some of the merchants in town.”
The distributed letter states, “There shall be no competing on retail items sold by MSPA merchants.”