COLLEGEDALE, Tenn. — The Collegedale Market, which brings local vendors, farmers, and craftsmen straight to their community kicked off its first-ever full season this morning.
The market is unique, not only to the Collegedale community, but to the entire Southeast as well.
Space, shelter and a roaring fireplace, the Collegedale Commons has amenities for every season.
As David Barto, Director of the Collegedale Tomorrow Foundation, explains, it’s the only market of its kind for hundreds of miles.
"Anyone within driving distance, I say come on down to Collegedale," said Barto.
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is the only other city in the southeast that offers a year-round market, that's according to Barto.
Local vendors, like Suzanne Foster, are taking advantage of it. In fact, she says this market helped her business go viral.
"I think it’s going to do great. I have online personal business page on Facebook and it got shared 20,000 times, so I was like this is going to be huge so I’m excited," said Foster.
While vendors are always happy for the business, organizers, like Steve Brehm, say crowds at other markets. like the one held downtown, can sometimes be overwhelming for shoppers.
"I've got two little girls and so sometime that makes me nervous with 10,000 people there, so this gives people the opportunity to shop in more of a low stress environment," said Brehm.
Some, like Matt Patty with the Chattanooga Beard Company, say this market might tap into an entirely new audience
“Chattanooga's not very far away, but sometimes, its 100 miles away, it seems like, So, just being here it gives people an opportunity to go to another market," said Patty.
More than 40 vendors, set up shop and took a chance on this market. Every business owner I spoke with. said they'll be back.
The next Collegedale Market will be on St. Patrick's Day, March 17th. It will be open more than 30 Sundays throughout 2019.