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The final sale: Saturday’s Market vendors packing up; some report sales up since closure announced

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 11/26/19

On the front door of Saturday’s Market in Londonderry Township is a sign that reads: “Saturday’s Market is permanently closing on November 30th 2019. Outside and inside vending is …

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The final sale: Saturday’s Market vendors packing up; some report sales up since closure announced

Posted

On the front door of Saturday’s Market in Londonderry Township is a sign that reads: “Saturday’s Market is permanently closing on November 30th 2019. Outside and inside vending is strictly prohibited after that date. Neither vendors nor other individuals will be permitted to enter the property without the express permission of management. Violators will be removed by security or the authorities if necessary. Your cooperation is appreciated.”

Inside the market on Saturday, some of the booths were still filled with merchandise while others that were once occupied were empty.

Some of the vendors were packing up their stalls. Some advertised 50 percent off their merchandise.

Iris Saur, of Iris’ Books — which has been at the market for 37 years — said her customers have been sticking by her since the announcement. Saur has sold down quite a bit of her inventory, marked books down and donated them.

“You just don’t realize what you have until something like this happens and then you think, ‘Oh, my,’” she said.

In early October, news broke that the market, which opened in 1957 as the Big M, was closing. Saturday’s Market did not return a call requesting comment.

“It’s been jam-packed every week since they said it was closing. Our sales have more than doubled. The last month and a half have been great,” said Kevin Thoman, of KT Media.

The market is under contract to Core5 Industrial Developers, which plans to build a 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse behind the market.

As for their plans for Saturday’s Market, attorney Charles Courtney told the Press & Journal that Core5 planned to demolish the building. On the site, they planned to build a smaller distribution center and lease it to a tenant. He estimated that plans would be submitted early next year.

Vendor Linda Pinca described the past several weeks since the announcement as “sad.”

“A lot of customers coming in commiserating with us, saying they were sorry we were told the way we were told. I never even got anything — no letter in the mail, no email, no nothing,” Pinca said.

She found out that the market was closing after reading about it in the newspaper.

“We had a lot of fun and we’re sad, but all good things must come to an end,” Pinca said.

They were planning to pack everything up Saturday. Pinca said it was “up in the air about Nov. 30,” meaning it is not clear if the market will be open to the public on that day or only to vendors.

“If we have to have everything out the end of the day Nov. 30, you can’t sell the same day because your stand is going to be all torn up packing things,” Pinca said.

Thoman said vendors won’t be able to get back in after the doors are closed.

“So anything that you can’t get out, they’re taking and they’re going to auction it off. Anything left in here after 4:30 is no longer your property. They’re boarding the place up,” Thoman said.

He said he’s learned about that through word of mouth and security guards.

“There’s no communication with anybody about anything,” Thoman said.

But for Thoman, the closing of Saturday’s Market means the opening of a new KT Media — a vinyl, DVD and CD store — at 140 S. Union St. in Middletown.

“We’re staying right here in Middletown. All of our customers for the last 10 years have been great supporting us, so we wanted to stay right here in the area,” Thoman said.

He hopes the store is open before Christmas. Saturday was their last day at the market. Thoman planned to move everything out Tuesday, although they’ve moved some items already.

The stand was something that Pinca and her husband, who are retired, did to earn extra income. They plan to retire from selling after Saturday’s Market closes, mostly because she said there wasn’t another market nearby their Harrisburg home.

Pinca and her family have been at Saturday’s Market for 37 years.

She helped get her mother started running a booth to help her mom, who loved talking to people, to socialize. Over the years, Pinca’s mom sold glasswares and collectibles.

Pinca tried to sell her mom’s items when she took over the booth in 2000 after her mom’s death, but she had difficulty making the rent for Saturday’s Market and decided to switch to selling toys.

Pinca and her husband have sold toys for the past 19 years. They’ve gotten to know a lot of people over the years, developing camaraderie with other vendors and the customers, who she says come back because they know Pinca’s toys are clean and work.

Pinca has been boxing up since the announcement and offering special prices.

“You know how much you accumulate over 19 years and beyond,” she said.