More vendors stir the excitement on opening day.
Beanca Gordner was setting up assortments of mushrooms and watching potential customers stream into The Market at Lakewood Ranch Dec. 5 on the market's opening day.
Gordner had come to the Sarasota Polo Club for the market last season, selling Mr. Fun Guy's mushrooms and was glad to be back for more.
"I loved it last year," she said. "This is a great community."
Gordner said The Market seems about double the size of its first year in terms of vendors. She said the solid crowds obviously attracted the vendors, but she said the reputation has built that Monaca Onstad, the director of community relations for Lakewood Ranch Communities, along with The Market Manager Morgan Bettes, have created a vendor-friendly environment.
Onstad said the vendor count at the end of last season grew to about 30 after starting with about 15 vendors. The Dec. 12 market will host a special event (the second Wednesday of every month) called the Maker's Market, which will feature local crafters. More than 60 vendors will be expected on that day.
Bettes said she feels the excitement among both the vendors and the patrons.
"It is the volume," she said. "We literally have double the vendors, and it jumps every week."
Eric Donaldson of Cypress Creek Wild Alaska Salmon joined the vendor lineup after Gary Balch of Maggie's Seafood told him it would be a great opportunity. Donaldson said he stayed away last season out of respect for Gary and Maggie Balch because he sells a similar product and didn't want to compete with them in Lakewood Ranch last year as he does in Sarasota. But Gary Balch thought there was enough business for both of them so he came to Lakewood Ranch for this season.
Tom Baril of Polpo Pizza said The Market gained momentum at the end of last season and he is excited to see if that momentum will continue. "I decided to give it another try," he said of attending the market for the second year. "It looks like (Lakewood Ranch Communities) is putting the effort into advertising and building it."