FLORENCE, Ky - A soggy spring, construction delays and a zoning glitch have again pushed back the opening of the much-anticipated Northern Kentucky market inspired by Cincinnati's historic Findlay Market.
The indoor portion of Friendly Market, at 10050 Norbotten Dr., in Florence, was due to open this week, but is now slated to have a grand opening the first week in September, said owner Jack Berberich. The market's open-air vendors have been selling their products since June.
At a cost of $1 million, Berberich hopes first year revenues will be between $2 million to $3 million and will add 25 to 30 jobs to the region.
The former tobacco farmer and resident of Taylor Mill, Berberich concocted his idea to bring a Kentucky-centric farmer’s market to Northern Kentucky nearly four years ago.
Weather Is Culprit
But an unseasonably wet spring complicated construction and delayed crops, he said.
“We could have opened in May, but the farmers wouldn’t have had anything to sell,” he said about the first delay in opening the outdoor farmer’s market pavilion.
The indoor market, inspired by Cincinnati’s Findlay Market, was set to open July 22, but construction and zoning delays has pushed the date back to the first week in September.
“It’s been horrible construction weather,” he said.
Berberich said the overly wet spring and summer has increased time paving the parking lot, digging footers and getting the infrastructure of the 10,000-square-foot building completed. The market is just off of Sam Neace Drive.
The indoor market plans a soft opening the week of Aug. 6. But not all vendors will be open for business then either, due to some manufacturing delays, he said.
The need to special order some equipment also delayed the initial opening.
“In this economy, some manufacturers don’t maintain their inventory,” said Berberich.
A zoning glitch also pushed back the opening of the three-acre market. The market is a zone C4 for commercial; but they needed a modification for outdoor farmers market, he said.
The indoor market will include many local farmers and businesses:
• Taste of Belgium , which sells Belgium made waffles.
• Friendly’s Meats Cheeses will feature locally produced meats and cheeses including a cheese from Walton, Ky.
• Uncle Buck's Produce
• Unbridled Spirits
• The Flying Olive , which specializes on olive oils and vinegars
• Kentucky Proud General Store , which will stock items that shoppers would expect to find at a general store.
• The Colonel's Creamery
• Colonel De Herbs and Spices, of Fort Thomas, offers locally made spices.
• Brocato’s Italian Market will feature pasta, pesto and sauces.
It’s important, he said to support local Kentucky farmers and help them market their products.
From Tobacco Fields to Produce
"Since tobacco was the largest cash crop in Kentucky, we wanted to see how Kentucky farm families were able to support themselves following the loss of the federal tobacco program,” said Berberich.
He said he wanted to see how efficiently and effectively the tobacco settlement money was being used to create new opportunities for Kentucky farm families.
One example, he noted, was the establishment of small farm wineries.
“The Friendly Market is a place to showcase [those] products now being grown and produced in Kentucky."
While his inspiration was Findlay Market, Berberich said his goal was never to duplicate the indoor/outdoor market in Over-the-Rhine.
“My goal was to try to entrap the atmosphere of Findlay Market with an open-air market combined with a farmer’s market tied in with Kentucky agriculture.”
“We don’t have to look at the label and wonder where it’s made.”
The outdoor pavilion is currently open six days a week and the indoor market is expected to be open six days a week, with slightly different hours.
Outdoor pavilion hours, seasonally
Tuesday-Friday, 1:30-5:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Indoor market hours
Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.