For generations the Mahoning Valley Farmers Market along Route 443 in Mahoning Township was a popular attraction on weekends. Large crowds would visit the market, buying locally grown farm products, patronizing area vendors, and eating freshly made hamburgers, french fries, and doughnuts.
The market had closed in 2010 when the owner opted to retire.
Today the 35,000 square foot, landmark facility reopened under new ownership. Rebecca Santee and her father, Floyd Santee, acquired a five-year lease, made major improvements, and opened for business at 8 a.m.
The market will be open each weekend: Fridays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Floyd Santee also is the promoter of the adjacent Mahoning Valley Speedway. This is his second year running the Saturday night races. He took over the promotion after the previous operator, Doug Hoffman, passed away.
Rebecca said a grand opening for the Mahoning Valley Farmers Market will be announced.
Dozens of vendors were present for the official opening today.
Ÿ Rocky Ridge Greenhouses, which has a large selection of hanging baskets and plenty of geraniums.
Ÿ Korn Fiends, which has a market in Coplay.
Ÿ Ronks Barbecue, which operated a market for a number of years along Route 873 near Slatington and will operate the indoor grill at the Farmers Market.
Ÿ American Kettle Corn, making kettle corn in large copper pots.
There will be vendors selling snacks, pet treats, a meat market, a deli, and, of course, produce stands.
"We have a great variety of artisans and crafters," said Santee.
Indoor and outdoor flea markets also are planned.
Santee said she anticipates opening a 4,000 square foot thrift shop featuring clothing and other items. She said the thrift shop is planned to open next month, and would likely be open on Wednesdays through Sundays.
This is Rebecca's second career. Full-time she is a social worker for a senior housing facility. She said this is her first business venture.
She said regarding operating the farmer's market, "I know how important it is to have community involvement. I know if you're good to the community, they'll be good to you"
One of the features she is implementing is a "community spotlight area." This is a free table available to any non-profit organization.
Also, she is hoping to have special events throughout the summer including car shows, swap meets, children's weekends, and senior's weekends.
Also operating the farmers market with Rebecca will be her husband, Jack.
Organizations who wish to utilize the community spotlight area, or vendors wanting space, should contact Santee at 610-674-2547.
The Mahoning Valley Farmers Market also has a Facebook page.
Santee reminded visitors to the Farmers Market that parking is free.