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Business owners say reopened market is light at the end of the tunnel

Updated: Apr. 10, 2021 at 11:44 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Saturday marks the start of the Charleston Farmers Market in Marion Square for the first time in nearly a year and a half.

Businesses and buyers alike welcomed the opening of the essentials farmers market, especially after last year’s shutdowns halted both city tourism and in-person business.

“I would say 50 percent of the business are from people from out of town so when you don’t have that then that’s a big slug to local craftsmen and artisans who are all here in the market,” vendor and owner of Landrum Tables Capers Cauthen said. “Hundreds of people here, walking dogs, it’s like business as usual so it feels great.”

But there are still some restrictions. Masks are required, vendors are spaced out and certain market favorites are not yet up and running.

“We have not set up dining areas for the public yet we also don’t have prepared food vendors nor live music basically we want this to be more of a passive market at the time.” Market manager Harrison Chapman said.

The market usually has between 100 to 120 vendors pre-pandemic. However, it only had around 40 for Saturday’s soft opening.

“We’ll gradually be able to add some more as more vendors are able to participate, but you can imagine a lot of different challenges to go with the starting of the season,” Chapman said.

Vendor and owner of Palmetto Purse, Diane McDermott, said anything is better than nothing and she feels lucky to be back in person.

“I have been talking to visitors from out of town and then locals that always come to the market to so it’s nice to see familiar faces, McDermott said. “And having this market as an artisan, the regularity of it is just really important.”

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