Berlin Farmer’s Market’s grand re-opening symbolizes a modern update

A community tradition since the 1940s, the market is celebrating new ownership and a new modern update.

Sean McGahgy serves coffee in Caffeine Corner, one of the new businesses that opened in the Berlin Farmer’s Market recently.

Though the Berlin Farmer’s Market never technically closed, it will celebrate a grand re-opening on April 29.

Manager Robert Roche said the event is to help customers learn the market is under new management, and that many changes are happening with more to come.

Roche said the floors on the inside of the market were completely redone, and it also renovated new restrooms. In addition, it welcomed several new businesses to the indoor section.

“We’re trying to let the public know we have done a lot of improvements to the market,” Roche said.

The grand re-opening, which will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature plenty of activities. It will feature a fundraiser for the local police department, EMS and the fire department. There will be a family fun day, which will include balloon artists, face painting and a bouncy castle. WTXU will be live broadcasting from the property.

He also promised “a lot” of giveaways, including t-shirts with the market’s logo.

Roche said he expects between 20,000 and 30,000 customers at the event.

“We’re trying our best to compete with the Walmarts and Amazons of the world,” he said.

On a typical weekend, the outdoor flea market attracts between 400 and 500 vendors, and between 10,000 and 20,000 customers.

Ownership of the market was taken over by Jenna Ackerman and Travis Pratt in November 2015.

Previously, the Giberson family had owned the market since it began as a livestock and produce auction during the 1940s.

“The building was very dated when the new owners took over,” Roche said. “It needed a lot of love, and it’s gotten it. We’re bringing the property up to the 21st century.”

The outside of the building is also almost finished being painted.

The indoor farmer’s market is open Thursdays to Saturdays 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It houses 75 small businesses with a variety of food, retail and service facilities.

The outdoor flea market is open Fridays to Sundays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting. The property is large enough to accommodate up to 700 vendors.

“People come out here with their families and spend the whole day here,” Roche said.

To be a vendor, all people have to do is show up to the flea market early enough to secure a spot. There are a variety of products sold, from food to clothing to yard sale items.

Roche said the market is planning more projects in the future that he cannot yet talk about.

“We are here to help new entrepreneurs open businesses,” Roche said. He said some businesses first appeared in the market before expanding to have more locations.