Downtown market set to open

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- The early crops are starting to come in, and that's good news for downtown Albany and consumers who prefer their produce fresh.

Potential customers can get their first look and sample some of the Fresh Market's wares Friday during a combination open house/dedication ceremony that will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the 106 N. Washington St. establishment. The produce market officially opens for business Saturday morning at 8.

"My brain's going 100 miles per hour right now, trying to get everything ready," Fresh Market owner Bruce Young, also owner of the successful Po' Boys Produce Market at 1540 N. Washington St., said Monday morning. "We waited (to open the downtown market) because it's still a little early for local produce, but we're getting nice stuff in from North Florida now.

"We won't have a lot of local produce for a little while, but it will be as close to Georgia as you can get. And we have plenty of local growers lined up, ready to bring in their produce as soon as it's ready."

The Fresh Market is one of three long-abandoned storefronts recently announced as part of a mini downtown renaissance. B.J. Fletcher, who with business partner Sarah Edmonds opened the successful Cafe 230 at 230 W. Broad Ave. a little more than a year ago, opened the D'Town General Store in February, and Edmonds and Jessica Blair opened Verge a few days later.

"This is exciting, getting ready for the opening of the Fresh Market," Fletcher said Monday. "There will be samples of the market's products (during Friday's "soft opening"/ceremony), the sandwiches and smoothies that I think will be favorites.

"I think this is going to be a welcome part of downtown."

Young said the Fresh Market would carry some organic produce ("depending on availability") to go along with "everything else available" and the sandwiches, salads, soups and smoothies on the fresh bar.

"I'm anxious to get the fresh bar going myself because that's the kind of stuff I eat," he said. "We're all ready to get things going, but we really had no choice in waiting until the last minute. You can't get fresh produce until it's ready.

"I'm excited about this opportunity, and from what I can tell there are a lot of other people who are excited, too. If half the people show up who've been asking me when we were going to open, I'll be happy."

The Fresh Market will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.