Columbia city council approves alternate location for Soda City Market

ccope@thestate.comSeptember 4, 2013 

FILE PHOTO: Soda City - Columbia's all-local farmers market located on Main Street.


— Soda City Market now has a permanent place to go when it rains.

Columbia City Council on Tuesday approved the use of the City Center Garage along Taylor Street as an alternate spot during inclement weather for the market, usually held on the 1500 block of Main Street, near the Columbia Museum of Art.

The city formalized the use of the area, which has been used as an alternate location a few times before.

The spot makes for a convenient location to run the market in the rain because it is covered, said Robert Anderson, the city’s director of public works.

The garage is a block away from the usual location, and market patrons often park in the garage anyway, said Heather Spires with City Center Partnership.

It’s about as close to having it in the regular location as you can get, Spires said.

During bad weather, the market will move to the rear bay area on the first floor of the garage.

The year-round market operates on Saturdays and is changing its hours this weekend to operate from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. after having earlier hours for the summer season.

Even if it rains, people are still looking for their fresh vegetables and weekly buys, Anderson said.

Canceling the market because of weather would be “terrible,” said Robbie McClam, co-owner of City Roots urban farm, a Soda City vendor. The market would not be nearly as successful if vendors had to operate outside in the rain, he said.

Clients will still come if the market moves into the garage, he said, but the ideal spot is outside at the original location.

“I think Main Street has been fantastic, and it’s getting better every week,” McClam said.

Reach Cope at (803) 771-8657 or on Twitter @cassielcope.

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