Revamped Market House recruits student volunteers

Located at 910 Market St. in downtown Meadville, the Meadville Market House has been a part of the community since it was built in 1870. With its selection of local produce, craft goods and small restaurants, the Market House is the go-to place for members of the community to buy quality products and enjoy a meal.
In preparation for the summer, the Market House is looking for student summer volunteers for the farmers market that will be taking place every Saturday starting May 7.
Market House Manager and former Carrden General Manager Kerstin Ams described the purpose of the market and the responsibilities a summer volunteer would have.
“The market itself runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and takes place outside the market house,” Ams said. “It is an opportunity for farmers and other vendors to seek their goods directly to the customers. What we would like from our volunteers is for them to work in the two shifts with the first from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and the second from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.”
According to Ams, the first shift will be helping set up the market, helping vendors unload and answering customer questions. The second shift will be the same but the volunteer will help with wrapping up the day.

Meadville’s historic Market House is located at 910 Market Street. The Market house is currently preparing for its summer farmer’s markets, which will run from May 7 until Oct. 29. Photo contributed by Kerstin Ams.

Shannon Ferguson, ’22, is an Allegheny student who works at the Market House.
“This has been probably the best part-time job I have ever had,” Ferguson said. “(Ams) is very understanding and willing to work with my schedule to make things work. I connect with a lot of random folks over stuff that people want to come in and talk about so it’s just fun to hear their stories.”
In addition to the return of the market, the Market House has implemented a few changes in the layout of the store and the payment options at the farmers market. Ams explained that for customers without cash, the new “Market Money” program will allow the customer to use debit, credit or EBT benefits inside the market house to get a token to pay the farmer.
Acting Chair of the Market Authority Board Paula Burleigh shared the thought process behind the new market layout.
“The interior space had suffered from a little bit of disorganization in the past so there was a lot of deep cleaning that happened,” Burleigh said. “We wanted to present a cleaner space that would be inviting and organized so people would not come in and feel confused.”
According to Burleigh, the Market House obtained new shelving and lowered the height of the shelves. Burleigh said that new shelving techniques are meant to allow the customer to see throughout the store instead of being confronted by large shelves they can not see over.
Because the Market House is a big part of the Meadville community, students have been involved with it in the past.
“We have had Allegheny students work in different capacities at the Market House,” Burleigh said. “With the Bonner Scholars program, we have had students come work with us to help consult on projects.”
According to Burleigh, London Dejarnette, ’22, did research around local farms to help the Market House to help educate people why paying a little more for a locally raised chicken can be more beneficial to the consumer.
In addition to the benefits to the consumer, Ferguson explained why buying from the Market House benefits the vendors.
“With the Market House, people who are bringing in their goods are getting like 70-80 cents of their dollar for what they are selling which is fantastic and a huge difference from selling to a grocery store,” Ferguson said. “Part of it is just taking out the middleman.”
The Market House hopes to continue bringing value to the community as they continue to improve the market and think of new ways to invite more customers.
“The mission statement of the Market House is that it is an institution that is meant to connect local individuals with local food vendors and support regional farms and food growers,” Burleigh said.
The Meadville Market House is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The farmer’s market will be open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m from May 7 to Oct. 29.