Mahoning landmark closed
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Ray Zimmerman, right, of Pittman, Schuylkill County, positions tables onto his trailer after removing them from the Mahoning Farmers' Market in Mahoning Township. The farmers' market, which served generations of patrons, has closed. Assisting Zimmerman is Sue Andrew of West Penn Township while looking on is Eugene Willier of Pittman.
The Mahoning Farmers' Market, providing a retail outlet for local farmers and serving patrons for generations, is officially out of business.
Charles Abrachinsky, owner of the sprawling complex along Route 443 for nearly 40 years, said he has the building up for sale but he won't be reopening it himself anymore.
"I'm tired," Abrachinsky remarked. The retiree said he thought he had the building sold at one point, but the recession and the township's stringent zoning requirements forced the sale to be canceled.
Abrachinsky added that the closing of the farmers' market won't be affecting the adjoining Mahoning Valley Speedway, which is already open for racing this season.
The farmers' market in Mahoning had more than farm produce. Some vendors sold fresh cuts of meat, including steaks, ring bologna, and chicken; you could purchase CDs; shoppers could stop for french fries and other foods on the premises; or you could shop for old tools, motor vehicle parts, and general merchandise.
On Monday, some of the vendors cleaned out their leftover stock and removed their large wooden tables.
Some vendors were negotiating with Abrachinsky to buy tables and machinery that he owned.
Most of the vendors and farmers have already found other locations to sell their goods.
Ray Zimmerman of Pittman, Schuylkill County, said he will be selling produce at a flea market in Slatington. He said he's been at the Mahoning Farmers' Market for 30 years.
Another seller of local farm goods, Eva Miller of Miller's Produce in Andreas, has been at the Mahoning Farmers' Market for about 45 years.
"It sure was a shock," she said regarding receiving word the farmers' market was closing. "My customers for years have been coming back."
She said she has set up a site to sell produce at Country Junction in Towamensing Township. She will be at Country Junction each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. She said of her customers, "I hope they follow me there."
"It's too bad it had to close," she said of the farmers' market. "A lot of people are going to miss it. There were a lot of loyal customers who came there."
Miller's Produce also operates a stand along Route 309 in West Penn Township from late June until October.
Abrachinsky said he has the farmers' market listed with Gail Christman of Gene Durigan Real Estate in Lehighton.
At one time the farmers' market was open year-round. A few years ago, it began closing over the winter months and reopening around Easter.
Abrachinsky said he no longer can devote time, energy, and resources into operating the farmers' market.
"I had it sold once," he said. "I even had a down payment."
Even if he had sold it, it would no longer be a farmers' market. The firm that wanted to buy it had plans for a combined commercial and residential development, but that was before the recession.
Abrachinsky said one of main selling points is that the property has three highway access points.
He added, "I want to enjoy retirement."