New Mokena market seeks ‘community’ feel
BY GINGER BRASHINGER For The Herald-News April 27, 2012 7:52PM
Customers shop at the French Market in Mokena. | File photo
Updated: May 9, 2012 9:24PM
MOKENA — The Mokena Downtown Merchants Association has some big plans for a new country market scheduled to operate on Front Street on Saturdays.
The village board unanimously approved the new Mokena Downtown Market, to be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays from April 28 through Oct. 20.
“We are greatly pleased with being allowed the opportunity to take the project on and show that we can produce a much better market venue for the people of the community than we have had in the last five years,” said Charlene Bergman, a merchants association member and owner of Dave’s Auto Sales and Service, on Front Street.
Bergman said about 20 vendors from the previous French Market have been contacted by market manager Barbara Bergman and the association hopes to have room for nearly twice that many.
She said full-time vendors will pay a weekly $20 fee, nearly two-thirds less than the $58 charged by Bensidoun USA for its French Market. Part-time vendors will be charged $30 per week.
Vince DiFiore, an associate member of the merchants association, said community involvement in the market is encouraged.
He said the market board plans to have local amateur and professional entertainment weekly, and nonprofits will be able to sign up for free space for fundraising and community awareness. The Frankfort Township Food Pantry and Mokena-Marley-Frankfort FISH will have regular spots to collect food and cash donations, DiFiore said.
“We think our street should come alive,” DiFiore said. “We want not only our input, but your input.”
The village board allowed the merchants association to take over the market after some community pushback against renewing a contract with Bensidoun USA, a French-based company specializing in outdoor markets.
The new market will be set up on Front Street rather than in the downtown Metra station lot because there was a three-year no-compete clause in the Bensidoun contract.
Charlene Bergman said Front Street will be closed to through traffic from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on market days.
“This is where you’re going to come to find out what’s happening in your village,” Bergman said. “We want a friendly market, somewhere you will bring your family, bring your dog, bring your mother. Let’s get back to community.”
For more information, contact Barbara or Charlene Bergman at (708) 479-2706.