Passers-by have gotten a glimpse of something the past few weekends that has been missing at Seminole Mall for a while — lots of cars and people. • They've come for the city's first-ever green market that has taken advantage of the hiatus similar ventures elsewhere in Pinellas take this time of year and capitalized on an air-conditioned mall with lots of convenient, free parking.
Toss in a variety of foods, crafts and music that organizer Scott Meehan has put together and the hope is that his brainchild will revive interest in a mall that most have written off as dying, if not already dead.
Four weeks in, Fresh Markets & More seems to be delivering.
"I'm pleased so far," Meehan said. That's especially good, he said, considering that this is the slow time of year for green markets and considering the poor economy. Thirty restaurants have closed in the Seminole-Largo area during the past year or so.
The first weekend was the talk of the town; an estimated 6,000-plus shoppers visited the mall to see what it was all about. Things have been up and down and a bit slower since then, but crowds are still coming.
"I've never seen the mall this busy before," Seminole resident Jayne Ward Hachey said. "I think it's going to be good for us."
Hachey decided to take advantage of the crowds by selling her homemade dog treats at the market.
Jayne's Dog Treat Pantry has fresh baked treats in various flavors, such as peanut butter crunch, beef barley and chicken.
Meehan said the market has been financially successful, and he plans to expand as the season changes. He said he has 72 vendors on a waiting list, but he's trying to ensure that shoppers have a variety to choose from so he doesn't want to duplicate what's already there. This coming weekend, for example, a seafood vendor will be added to the mix.
In the future, he wants to add vendors who specialize in items such as chocolates, pastries and salsas. Meehan is also searching for people who have unique arts and crafts to sell. And, on Oct. 2, the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections will have a booth for voter registration, education, address changes and to answer election-related questions.
Reach Anne Lindberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8450.