Open air market debuts at new Carrollwood location
CARROLLWOOD - Vendors from a Westchase open air market that moved to Carrollwood this weekend likely found the location to be just as electric, but much less shocking. The Fresh Market at Westchase Town Center became the North Tampa Market at the Carrollwood Cultural Center this week. Organizers decided to move out from under power lines in Westchase after some vendors using tents supported by metal poles reported getting shocked on mornings when the grass was wet. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on about two acres of the center’s land, about 75 vendors and artists showed and sold their wares and crafts on the new site, 4537 Lowell Road. The market is one of five open-air markets run by Tampa Bay Markets in Hillsborough and Pasco counties. Outside a vendor booth, Greg Barnhill, Tampa Bay Markets director of finance and operations, said the new venue offered more visibility and access to visitors coming off of North Dale Mabry Highway.Barnhill, assisted by Tiffany Ferrecchia, Tampa Bay Markets co-owner and director, said vendors came from as far as Orlando to sell at the market and as many as 1,000 visitors attended the first event at the new location. He said the site also allowed “neighborhood vendors” to take part in one close market, rather than having to travel to set up at other locations several times a month. “It’s really creating a community event for the greater Tampa Bay area, but specifically, Carrollwood and north Tampa. It’s central to Lutz, Westchase and Northdale,” he said. “This allows more flexibility and vendors can really become part of the neighborhood.” Next to Barnhill, the owners of one of those local vendors, Carrollwood’s “Our Two Cents Handmade Soaps,” spoke with potential customers. Lorrie Escobar and Regina Scott have been in the homemade soap business since 2008. “When I found it moved, I was so excited beyond belief,” said Escobar, who lives off Lake Magdalene. “It’s my neighborhood; we didn’t have this here and had to travel before. Now, I can network and put fliers near mailboxes.” Debbie Bertelli, of Citrus Park, and her friend Kathy Griffin, of Carrollwood, were driving by and found the market “by accident.” They decided to stop and spend a few minutes shopping. “It’s great. The produce is great and there’s really good prices and we love the set-up,” said Bertelli, who bought six bromeliad plants. Among the goods being sold from other small businesses were breads, jewelry, honey, barbecue sauces, arts and crafts, plants and pet dietary supplements. Ferrecchia said the move seemed to have paid off for vendors and made shopping the market easier for guests. She said the market was needed in that part of Carrollwood. “There’s more of a neighborhood interaction here. It’s more centrally located and it’s a calm, relaxed environment,” she said. “I think everyone sees this as a better opportunity.” In addition to the North Tampa market, Tampa Bay Markets operates the monthly Seminole Heights Morning Market and the Fresh Market at Hyde Park Village and the twice-monthly Fresh Market at The Shops at Wiregrass. For information, see www.tampabaymarkets.com.