Reading Terminal Market is getting a new makeover just in time for its 120th anniversary.
Collaborating with Friday Architects, the historical market at 12th and Arch streets has been undergoing renovations since last year and is expected to be completed by next month.
New vendor space is now available, allowing five new small businesses to come to the market and existing merchants to expand.
The restrooms have also been expanded and an aisle along the east side of the market has been straightened out, taking it “back to the historical design of the market,” said Marketing and Event Manager Sarah Levitsky. In addition, the seating area now extends straight through to the back of the market.
The renovations “allowed us to change the flow of the market … and to keep the market fresh,” Levitsky said. She called it a major change for the market.
The improvements will be able to draw in more customers “because they’re attracted to see what’s new, what’s changing, what’s going on,” said Joe Nicolosi, owner of DiNic’s, one of the vendors to expand with the renovation.
Though renovations are almost complete, some students who have visited the market recently did not notice much change.
College freshman Alex Ortega, only when told about the seating expansion, recalled that “there were definitely more seating.”
A more frequent market-goer, College junior Amrit Malothra, believes the added space will be beneficial as “it is pretty cramped in there.” She also did not observe any huge changes to the market. “I noticed that the stalls have changed around but I haven’t noticed any improvements,” she said.
For computer science professor Max Mintz, a resident of the Rittenhouse neighborhood who has visited the market frequently since 1974, the renovations are not pronounced. Although he noticed “select places” being renovated, he does not think they are major upgrades.
Mintz said the market is as much for socializing as it is for shopping for groceries and other goods, so he does not believe the changes drastically affect the overall feel of the market.
“I have stalls that I frequent. [The vendors] know me by sight and by name. Part of the fun of shopping there is to chat with the vendors.”
Three of the five newly available business spaces have already been leased, Levitsky said. New to the market will be cheesemaker Valley Shepherd Creamery, Wursthaus Schmitz, a German-themed food and market stand, and the Head Nut, which offers a variety of nuts, spices and coffee.
In deciding which new vendors will occupy the new spaces, the market is looking for businesses that will “bring us something that we don’t have currently,” while prioritizing in new purveyors, vendors selling fresh foods such as bakeries and produce stands, Levitsky said.
The market’s responsibility to maintain a certain number of vendors selling fresh foods is important to Mintz as he often buys his groceries such as meat, seafood, cheeses and coffee from his favorite purveyors. “I think we have enough food-to-go vendors,” Mintz said. “We don’t need knick-knack vendors.”
Other new features include a demonstration kitchen and a new multipurpose room, the Rick Nichols Room. The small rental space named after the food columnist will provide expanded seating when not hosting meetings or events.
In the back of the Rich Nichols Room will be a museum-like exhibit detailing the history of the market. The room will be finished along with the rest of the renovations but the exhibit will not be installed until May, Levitsky said.Comments powered by Disqus
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