Located at 910 Market St. in downtown Meadville, the Meadville Market House has been a part of the community since it was built in 1870. With its selection of local produce, crafts and small eateries, the Market House is the place essential for members of the community to buy quality products and eat.
In preparation for the summer, the Market House is looking for summer student volunteers for the Farmer’s Market which will take place every Saturday starting May 7th.
Market Manager and former Carrden General Manager Kerstin Ams described the purpose of the market and the responsibilities a summer volunteer would have.
“The market itself runs from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and takes place outside the market,” Ams said. “It’s an opportunity for farmers and other sellers to source their wares directly from customers. What we want from our volunteers is that they work on both shifts with the first from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and the second from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
According to Ams, the first shift will help set up the market, help vendors unload and answer customer questions. The second shift will be the same, but the volunteer will help wrap up the day.
Shannon Ferguson, 22, is a student from Allegheny who works at the Market House.
“It’s probably the best part-time job I’ve ever had,” Ferguson said. “(Ams) is very understanding and willing to work with my schedule to make things work. I connect with a lot of random people on topics that people want to come and talk about, so it’s just fun to hear their stories.
In addition to the return of the Market, the Market House has implemented some changes to the store layout and payment options at the Farmer’s Market. Ams explained that for cashless customers, the new “Market Money” program will allow the customer to use debit, credit or EBT benefits inside the market to get a token to pay the farmer.
Acting Market Authority Board Chair Paula Burleigh shared the thought process behind the new market layout.
“The interior space had suffered from a bit of disorganization in the past, so there was a lot of deep cleaning,” Burleigh said. “We wanted to present a cleaner, inviting and organized space so people don’t walk in and feel confused.”
According to Burleigh, the Market House got new shelves and lowered the height of the shelves. Burleigh said the new shelving techniques are intended to allow the customer to see throughout the store instead of being faced with large shelving they cannot see.
Because the Market House is a large part of the Meadville community, students have been involved there in the past.
“We’ve had Allegheny students work in different capacities at the Market House,” Burleigh said. “With the Bonner Scholars program, we’ve had students come to work with us to help consult on projects.”
According to Burleigh, London Dejarnette, 22, researched local farms to help the Market House help educate people about why paying a little more for locally raised chicken can be more beneficial to the consumer.
In addition to consumer benefits, Ferguson explained why buying at the Market House benefits sellers.
“With the Market House, people bringing in their wares get about 70 to 80 cents of their dollar for what they’re selling, which is fantastic and a huge difference from selling at a grocery store,” Ferguson said. “Part of it is just cutting out the middleman.”
The Market House hopes to continue bringing value to the community while continuing to improve the market and think of new ways to invite more customers.
“The Market House’s mission statement is that it is an institution to connect local individuals with local food vendors and to support regional farms and food producers,” said Burleigh.
The Meadville Market House is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Farmer’s Market will be open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from May 7 to October 29.