Harbor District Market reopens this weekend

Published 5:11 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2020

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This weekend marks a return to business for the vendors who call Washington’s Harbor District Market home. Starting at 10 a.m. May 1, the doors of the market will reopen for the first time in a month and a half, since COVID-19 precautions prompted the market to close in mid-March.

“We are an essential business, and the reason we didn’t stay open is we didn’t have as much produce,” said Washington Harbor District Alliance Executive Director Meg Howdy. “Now that produce season is ramping up, we want to make sure were giving access to fresh, healthy, local foods for the community, as well as supporting our farmers. That’s one of the main parts of who we are as an organization.”

Hours for the market will be back to normal with the reopening, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Then, starting next week, the market will begin opening on Thursdays again from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Howdy said these hours may be subject to change based on how many people visit the market.

While the market’s layout naturally works to keep vendors six feet apart, Howdy said the plan is to implement some traffic control measures, such as the one-way shopping in place at many grocery stores. Visitors are also encouraged to wear masks while they shop.

“We’ll have fewer vendors there,” Howdy said. “We’re going to leave it up to each individual vendor to make their decision on when they come back.”

Though all the market’s vendors won’t be back right away, those who are setting up shop this weekend are excited to return, according to Howdy. For Nicole Modlin, owner of Bear Grass Soap Company, the market reopening is cause for celebration.

“I’m very excited to be getting back in there,” Modlin said. “Honestly, I’m glad we don’t have to wait any longer. I think that we’re essential. We have a lot of customers coming through, and I think we can manage it with all the restrictions for social distancing.”

Modlin says since the Market closed in March, her business has essentially come to a standstill. She estimates that approximately 99% of her sales come through the person-to-person interactions at the market, with online sales a distant second.

“My main money comes from that market,” Modlin said. “I’ve been doing events and farmers markets for about eight years now, and I’ve been making soap for 12 years. The Washington Harbor District Market is the absolute best market I have ever been at, and Meg is the best manager of a market I’ve ever had.”

For the latest updates on the Harbor District Market, visit www.harbordistrictmarket.org or check out their Facebook page @HarborDistrictMarket. More info on Bear Grass Soap Company can be found at www.beargrasssoap.com or on Facebook @beargrasssoap.