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A vision realized: South Shore Market to be patterned after Ybor

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image Melanie Morrison and Michael Parker, founders of the newly-formed Forward Thinking Campaign in Ruskin, stand on the spot where the Coffee Cup restaurant once stood. Penny Fletcher Photo

The market will be located in the heart of town


RUSKIN — Fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, cut flowers, prepared foods both to eat on site and in take-home packages, hand-made arts and crafts and specialty items will all be available at the South Shore Market on its Grand Opening weekend, Oct. 29 and 30, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the first Sunday of every month after that, beginning in November.

As of Oct. 15, 20 vendors had signed up to sell their wares at the Grand Opening.

The market will be patterned after Ybor City’s Fresh Market, where specialty items are sold at Centennial Park on the weekends along with an eclectic group of artists, writers, musicians, jewelry makers and other artisans demonstrating and selling their work.

The market will be located in the heart of town, at the southeast corner of U.S. 41 and Shell Point Road, on the spot where the Coffee Cup restaurant served its renowned coffee and home-made pies until the building was razed.

“This isn’t a flea market,” said Melanie Morrison, one of the two people spearheading the project. “All arts and crafts will be juried by the South Shore Market Committee.”

Hand-crafted artists and craft vendors must be responsible for creating 75 percent of their product in order to qualify for hand-crafted rates. If they make less than 75 percent of what they sell they must request an application to be an import vendor, she said.

The market is the first project of the newly-formed Forward Thinking Campaign, an organization that is seeking nonprofit status.  

“The purpose of the Forward Thinking Campaign is to create cultural alliances through community outreach and activism,” Michael Parker explained. Parker has been working with Morrison to head-up both the Campaign and the market.

“Part of this is to help the South Shore neighborhood reach its full potential by making cultural activities more accessible and implementing community projects that promote participation,” he said.

The corner where the market will be has been donated for use by the Dickman family, one of Ruskin’s first families and local business owner.

So far vendors promising to be on site are jewelry makers, a homemade fudge company, a specialty company that makes breakfast food and sandwiches, and an Ybor City cigar company.

“Oct. 20 we mailed out about 15 emails and they passed the word,” Morrison said. “It took off mostly by word of mouth.”

Vendors will be responsible for bringing their own tables, chairs and canopies and will be allowed to park on the site only to unload.

“We will do everything possible to see that a large number of people attend this market,” Morrison said. “We want to make this a profitable experience for both vendors and shoppers.”

Shoppers will see the advantages in dealing directly with product makers instead of retailers in freshness and pricing, Morrison said.

Once the market gets going, the Forward Thinking Campaign plans to design and implement other cultural projects as well.

For more information or to sign up to be a vendor, call Morrison at 813-919-5946 or  Parker at 813-846-2000 or email southshoresundaymarket@gmail.com.

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