'A mall without walls'
Elizabethtown center aims to provide boost to borough, more BY CHAD UMBLE, Staff Writer
In May 2009, when Roth's Furniture closed its store at 206 S. Market St. in Elizabethtown, the town lost a 76-year-old business and got a prominent, empty building that no one quite knew what to do with.
For Dolores Reidenbach, founder of Jewel David Ministries, the building along Elizabethtown's main street offered an opportunity to help the downtown and give her Christian counseling ministry a unique way to supplement its fundraising.
"The downtown is in need of revitalization, so we're trying to contribute to that by developing a subsidy for the counseling center," Reidenbach said.
Begun in 2010, Jewel David Ministries is a not-for-profit that provides Christian counseling services for women and families. Its pay-what-you-can model is supplemented by The Light of Hope Thrift Shop, and now, Shoppes on Market, which opened in October.
The indoor mall began with some 15 vendors selling a variety of products, including crafts, children's items, clothing, art, furniture and accessories. Also at the opening: a bakery as well as sellers of vintage and precious jewelry, cosmetics and home d'cor items.
"The idea was an indoor mall. We call it a mall without walls," says Reidenbach, who bristles when the business is called a flea market or a co-op.
She also prefers to call the various sellers "partners."
Today, the first floor of the building is nearly at capacity with 30 different partners, as well as a furniture seller on the lower level. The ministry's office eventually will be housed on the second floor of the building, which has a total of nearly 30,000 square feet of space on three levels.
Reidenbach says that for its partners, Shoppes on Market gives them a chance to test out a business before striking out on their own -- or just staying put.
"The idea was to offer an opportunity, in sort of a protected kind of way, for someone to launch a business idea and sort of test it out," Reidenbach said.
For Mayita Hoyos, her two months in Shoppes on Market have confirmed that she can go it alone. In February, Hoyos plans to move her boutique to a storefront on the square in Elizabethtown.
Hoyos, who had been selling clothes and accessories on eBay, opened Mayita's Boutique inside Shoppes on Market in December. She carries new clothing, accessories, handbags and jewelry, describing it as an "eclectic mix."
"It was, for me, the opportunity to grow and do something like this," she says. "And now I feel I can do it."
For Ronald Stauffer and his wife, Patty, a small retirement business selling cards grew quickly.
In October, they set up a couple of tables selling homemade cards, calling it Patty's Cards & More. But then, Stauffer said, it seemed as if they needed more stuff, so they added books and Bibles before again expanding to include CDs, DVDs and now Melissa & Doug toys. They have since renamed their area Footprints at Market.
"If we had our own store, we'd have to have employees and have all that overhead," Stauffer said. "It is a great opportunity for somebody like myself and my wife who just want to try something."
As a partner at Shoppes on Market, Stauffer is required to spend six hours on site with sales handled through a common checkout.
As an Elizabethtown resident, Stauffer said he is grateful to see the former Roth's Furniture building being put to good use.
"It just brings a little bit of life back to Elizabethtown," he said.
Shoppes on Market is open from 10 a.m to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.