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Winter Market finds new location

Garrett Kluever, Biz & Tech Editor

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Since 2015 the Winter Market has been held at the Cravath Lakefront Center, Downtown Whitewater. However, the event’s organizers decided this year to change the location to the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library.  

Downtown Whitewater President Kristine Zaballos explained why the market didn’t work at Cravath, “the results were mixed because the building is somewhat off the beaten path and not very visible from Whitewater Street and people would forget to come and/or be caught up in things like getting their kids to sports, etc.”

Zaballos said she wanted the market to be held in a community gathering place, where people would already want to go, so they got in contact with the library.

When approached by the organization, Library Director Stacey Lunsford was interested but had to get over a few hurdles with the library’s executive board before the decision was made.

Lunsford’s initial concerns were about the library’s by-laws, which state that someone cannot use the library’s free spaces to the public for self-interest in raising business. Lunsford explained, “our policy states is that we don’t let people try to drum up business for themselves, we don’t let people do that because it’s free.”

Another topic of discussion was taxpayer dollars being represented by the community. Downtown Whitewater is a non-profit that is separate from the city of Whitewater’s departments, while they do work together, they are two different entities. The Cravath Lakefront Center is a part of the city of Whitewater meaning taxpayers put money towards it and there is also a fee.

“There’s other spaces in the community like the Cravath Lakefront center where you pay a fee for that. And that would be a good use for that space because it comes out of taxpayer dollars,” Lunsford said. Downtown Whitewater is separate from the city which means it’s not funded by the taxpayers and thus could be seen as not representative of public interest.

However the library board decided that they would allow the Winter Market to use the space because it directly impacts the community and its’ status as a non-profit.

The Winter Market is significantly smaller than the Summer Market in part because of the weather, as the Summer Market is hosted on Main Street when the weather is nice. Obviously winter weather prohibits that, thus the need for an inside space.

Numbers are not final for the market sign up, but Lunsford expects it to be between 8-10. According to Zaballos, vendors signed up right now are Kettle Moraine Honey, Wood Street Bakery, CJ’s Sweets and Treats, Stephani’s Spot and KM Jewelry.

The library had a booth at the Summer Market which included a small selection of books and a remote library card signup. They will have a space at the Winter Market, it’s not certain what they will do but Lunsford thinks it may involve reading to children as the parents shop.

The Winter Markets have always drawn less people than the Summer Ones but Zaballos hopes the new location will boost participation, “I would guess that winter market attendance last year was about 50-100 people per market with an average of 6 vendors each week. We certainly hope to increase that in our new location,” Zaballos said.

Even though the Winter Market may not bring in the same numbers, Zaballos said it is important to not only the vendors but overall community well being.

“Local residents are going to look for access to those products, and, perhaps most importantly, there’s a community gathering aspect to the regular market that people genuinely miss when the regular market season is over,” said Zaballos

The 2018 Winter Market season will run every second and fourth Saturday at the Irwin S. Young Memorial Library from 10 am – 1pm.

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Winter Market finds new location