Issue 34: Can a City Market Prosper in Rockland?

By Robert Lichtman

I believe it is time to create a market for the citizens of Rockland. A venue which is available to let people sell goods, services, art, antiques, etc for a minimal fee. This can provide an opportunity to start a business, test ideas in an open market, sell your old stuff, or find that rare item you have been looking for. It can also provide a chance to talk with the public about the value of your idea or product. Similar to a flea market but with more of a focus on entrepreneurial possibilities, a city market which would be held one day a month in June, July, August, and September. It could serve as an incubator for startup businesses which begin with a good idea and grow into a profitable experience for anyone bold enough to pursue their dreams. This market would be kept as inexpensive as possible to participate in as the high cost of all the moving parts of a new business can overcome even a promising concept or product.

With the support of our community radio station WRFR my hope is to bring this event to the MacDougal Park on Broadway, the flat grounds and existing parking area would be a perfect set up for smooth operations. I have not organized or run a market like this before, but as a glass artist I have spent thirty five years as a participant in hundreds of art and craft shows. I plan on applying what I have learned to the smooth operation of the “Rockland City Market”. As this is a community effort and I will be volunteering my time and organization skills, I am asking all of you interested people to join me and help to make this a success. You can contact me at Robert@thebuzz.me we have until next spring to get this idea off the ground, I welcome your thoughts and input.

The model I have in mind is based on the type of markets found in many large cities around the world, where one day a week the central plaza or park is transformed into a bustling open air market offering everything from fresh food and produce to original works of art and everything in between. This event not only provides a way for people of Rockland and surrounding areas the opportunity to generate a small amount of income it could help people realize undiscovered talents and skills which were waiting to be discovered. The event also can serve as a meeting place for people to share thoughts, ideas, memories or just friendly conversations. The combination of good food, music, art and junk is is Rockland’s calling card so let’s create the venue for it to thrive, and showcase the real heritage of the mid­coast: its citizens.

To continue this conversation, join us this Wednesday from 5pm to 6pm on WRFR’s Rockland Metro Show, at 93.3 fm in Rockland, 99.3 fm in Camden, and online at WRFR.org. To contact The Buzz, email joe@interhuman.org or call Joe at 596­-0731.

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    A free market has been proposed to the City, previously. It is, of course, a good idea. However, this should be part of the downtown area, probably in Harbor Park, and along adjacent areas for maximum exposure, and, because there are areas along there that should be considered a type of free trade zone, in my opinion, where any Rockland resident should be able to set up and sell their wares, and/or ideas. It is easy enough to formulate the level at which someone has become a “business,” and would then be subject to city regulations.

    From what is written, I take it that this is yet another done deal with no discussion or approval required by city residents. Tired of this. Very tired of this.

    The obsession with MacDougal Park, as well, goes beyond comprehension. It was not purchased privately, and yet every single indication is that it is being managed as a private enterprise. Throwing in “public benefit” because that identifier is meaningless, does not change this picture. “Public benefit” to whom – or for the glory of whom.

    Since you all are going to make this happen, why don’t you have night markets along Main Street after the stores have closed, which is, with the exception of The Grasshopper Shop, around 5 PM, no matter how many people are downtown. Given the hideous number of lamp posts, and light, there is near-sufficient light to maintain it. People do run stalls in the winter. Just look at any Dickens story. It is then that you might be able to capture a tiny bit of the bustling European market ambience and attendance. Consider the number of people who show up for the Art Walk openings, if only for the social interactions and the food and drink. The market should run as many nights a week as is feasible, year-round.

    Since this is already a done deal by the MacDougal Park “investors,” this is pointless, but there was this Comment section here… I’ll add that, given the limitation on yard sales, which, for those residents who did not abuse holding them, this is all rather ironic.