Jamestown Emporium Market Calls For More Vendors

The former Marine Midland Bank and The Forum is being redeveloped into the Jamestown Emporium, a new indoor mall area that is set to debut by the end of July at 201 N. Main St. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

JAMESTOWN — The Jamestown Emporium Market, a new indoor mall area, is set for a debut by the end of July at the former Marine Midland Bank building at 201 N. Main St.

Featuring local artisans, the market is intended to be a showcase for startups and more vendors are being requested to fill up remaining space.

Those with products in mind will be able to get a chance at selling their wares by contacting Lori Galster, project manager, at 708-6880 or lorijgalster@gmail.com. Kiosks are 12 by 14 feet, and less than 10 are still available for the public to use.

“This is a very low-cost way to enter the market,” Galster said.

Without having to pay for the overhead of store fronts, small businesses will have a more accessible outlet to sell their goods. The first floor of the building will be the setting for vendors’ creations as the other areas of the building are prepared for other ventures.

A look inside the former Marine Midland Bank, located at 201 N. Main St. Arnold Duke, building owner, is also redeveloping the former Key Bank Building into the Jamestown City Center, which will feature corporate offices, apartments and an entertainment space for events like dinner theater. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

Arnold Duke of Main Street Developers, LLC, led the project and designed it not only as a showcase for others and their wares, but also for his own business. Jamestown Emporium will serve as an anchor store for Pearl City Jewelry, an offshoot of the International Gem and Jewelry Show in which Duke shares his products across the country in convention centers. Merchandise from $10 to $100,000 will range from costume jewelry and a metaphysical gem collection to custom designer wares.

The current vendors and market plan to be open for business by the end of July in time for The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival. Within walking distance of the brand new National Comedy Center and other attractions including the Lucille Ball Little Theater, Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Museum and Northwest Arena, the market should be another detour in the center of Jamestown.

“We want to get it up and occupied and bring some life to the heart of Jamestown,” Galster said. “We want to try and promote retail.”

As such, Jamestown Emporium is open to all types of vendors. Galster and Duke would especially like to see woodworkers and other proprietors of hand-made crafts join the market. Duke is in talks with more potential vendors, including a potter and a glassworker. So far, candles, scarves, minerals, soaps, dinosaur toys and Amish games among other items will be for sale at the market.

The vendors include: Jamestown Candle Co., Pearl City Jewelry, Treasures of the Earth, Wraps of Elegance, Dinosaur World and Amish Craft.

Duke and the others are still in the process of transforming the space. Since the property was purchased three months ago, work has been underway to introduce new handicap-accessible public restrooms, plumbing, electric and a new roof.

“The building has sat empty for way too long,” said Duke, who wants to get the space ready with “lightning speed.”

For prospective vendors, the kiosk complete with wifi and security is offered for $350 per month. The kiosks are meant to be double or triple the size of mall kiosks. To make the cost more manageable, vendors are encouraged to partner up and split the cost. If businesses are successful, they can always evolve beyond the Jamestown Emporium and open up their own storefronts.

Duke also wants to use the market to educate children. A museum featuring dinosaur fossils and a coloring station will be available.

The basement is also being reworked to provide a unique type of family entertainment. More news will be announced before the Jamestown Emporium’s opening in July.

“We have a great creative idea for it,” Duke said. “It will be something like Jamestown’s never seen and never thought of (before).”

The first floor space will be able to accommodate up to 70 people without it feeling crowded, Galster said. Thirty feet-high ceilings in the ornate atrium also add to the spacious feeling.

“We’re still looking for vendors,” Duke reiterated.

His goal is to gather creative, enterprising individuals so that future customers will be able to interact with interesting people and products at nominal prices.

“We hope the local community will rally and support (the market) because it’s going to be different, unusual and fun,” Duke said. “We’re very excited about all the great things happening in Jamestown, and I’m excited to be a small part of it.”