At 10 am on the first Saturday of the month, a strange phenomenon happens in Downtown Cheviot; people go shopping. Patrons park their cars, settle their children into their strollers, leash-up their dogs, and fill the sidewalks leading into what was nothing more than a parking lot three years ago. For the last three years, I've asked myself, why? Why do they come? If we walk down Harrison Ave a day after Market Day, it seems like only certain types of businesses have a chance to survive, much less thrive in the age of on-demand shopping from our living room. This year, the answer could partly be attributed to people generally being starved for something to do. But, in my opinion, that is only scratching the surface.
The Market's debut last Saturday didn't just bring patrons out by the hundreds, more like the thousands. By a quarter after 10 am over 300 smiling faces heard the words, "Welcome to the WestSide Market," as they made their way around over 70 local vendors offered up throughout the event. From soaps to t-shirts to 40-pound candles, it's all there, ripe for our pocketbooks. So, is this the reason we come? Well, partly maybe. At each Market, I do indeed find a new vendor that I love. However, those weren't the majority of the items that filled my bags (yes, I said bags, as in more than one) last Saturday. So, with that being said there really was no reason for me to visit the Market physically. I could have simply shopped online with the vendors I was familiar with the same way I do with many big chain retailers. I could have taken advantage of the Market's curbside pickup as well, something new that has been implemented this year. But, I didn't feel inclined to do that either. Truth be told, I felt, and judging by the attendance of the event, many shared my feelings, that we would have been shortchanging our Market Day experience by not attending and taking it all in. On the first Saturday of the month, when I speak to my friends, the question is never, 'Are you going to the market today?' it's, 'What time are you going to the market today?' And that, whatever that is, is why we come. The WestSide Market is the pink lemonade that ties it all together. It's that extra shot of espresso, the cherry on top, the reason you're greeted with, and return a smile. Those pleasantries are then cultivated into not only an event, but an experience every time you walk through the gate; and that is why we come, and why we will continue to come. The WestSide Market knows what they're doing, and they did it again.
The next WestSide Market is scheduled for July 4, at 10 am.