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East County Friday, Jul. 9, 2021 6 months ago

Lakewood Ranch Market vendors look forward to Waterside Place move

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Despite delayed opening of Waterside Place in Lakewood Ranch, vendors excited about move.
by: Jay Heater Managing Editor

Vendors Ron and Betty Jo Baca of Baca Breads haven't been staying until the end of the Market at Lakewood Ranch's Sunday hours in the parking lot at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.

Their breads have been long gone.

Despite the quick sell-outs in their current location, the Bacas said they can't wait to get started when the market moves to Waterside Place, most likely in October.

"It's going to be an interesting market with all the development," Ron Baca said. "They are going to have some attractions."

Good Hand Pasta owner Deborah Aiza says she is thrilled the Market at Lakewood Ranch is moving to Waterside Place.

Lakewood Ranch's new entertainment and restaurant hub, Waterside Place, is still under construction, but they are inching toward the finish line. The buildings all are constructed, but merchants have just begun doing the inside build outs while landscaping continues.

"Unfortunately, there isn't a concrete date for the move yet as there are a lot of factors in play," said Monaca Onstad, the director of community relations for Lakewood Ranch Communities. "We look to move the market to Waterside Place with the first tenant opening."

In previous years, the market would close by May but Onstad decided to keep it going right through the opening at Waterside Place. Vendors said they haven't seen much of a slowdown despite the heat as we move into the summer months.

The Pasta Machine's Anthony Sessa said the summer months always are slow, but he has been pleased because business has been brisk. He has loved his spot on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.

"A lot of people drive past here," he said.

Even so, Sessa said he is looking forward to the move.

"They are building a lot of houses there," he said of Waterside Place.

Ron Baca said Waterside Place's attractions, such as an island park and smaller parks for entertainment, its many restaurants, and all the neighboring apartments and townhomes, will make for a great market. He does expect a slow start.

Anthony Sessa of The Pasta Machine business has been great in the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center parking lot, but he expects even more patrons at Waterside Place.

"It will take some education," he said. "You have to train people to go because this will be taking them out of their way."

Van Balam, whose knife sharpening business is a staple of the market, said he agrees business will "slow up" for a couple of months after the move.

"This has been a good market (at the current site), but Waterside Place is going to be incredible," he said. "The vendors will grow with that community."

Deborah Aiza, the owner of Good Hand Pasta, doesn't think it will be all that slow after the move.

"I would imagine they will have enough marketing in place," she said. "Oh my goodness, I am excited.

"I've seen Waterside Place on a Zoom call. I am thrilled."

The Market at Lakewood Ranch moved to the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center parking lot in November, 2019. The market has run from November through April each year, although it was extended this season.

The two previous season (2017-18 and 2018-19), the market was run on Wednesdays at the Sarasota Polo Club. Previous attempts to run a market in the Main Street at Lakewood Ranch area were unsuccessful.

After SMR struck gold with the market in the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, I was sure I would find a few vendors who would be nervous about moving the market once again.

But that wasn't the case at all as I moved from vendor to vendor. It was unanimous that despite solid business at the current site, they feel greater riches will be on the line at Waterside Place.

Those who visit the Market at Lakewood Ranch will have to go to Waterside Place, mostly likely starting in August.

 

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