Sara Swanson

Downtown merchants to stay open late Thursday nights and introduce seasonal pop-up market

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Merchants hope to bring residents downtown to shop on Thursday evenings during the holiday season beginning October 19th.

Sue LaRocque of River Raisin Antiques presented a plan to the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) last week. A number of downtown merchants have agreed to stay open until 8 pm on Thursday evenings for the holiday season beginning on October 19th. While they are committed to staying open late on Thursdays through December 14, if successful, LaRocque is hopeful that late Thursdays will become a permanent practice for downtown businesses. This late evening experiment will test the assertion made by consultant Robert Gibbs during his presentation to the DDA in 2014 after he performed a retail market study of Manchester. Gibbs said that Manchester’s downtown merchants must be open in the evenings, at least for the Wednesday-Saturday period, until at least 8 pm to catch people who work all day outside of Manchester.

While downtown Manchester houses many service businesses, including hair salons, dentists, insurance agencies, and even a pet groomer, in order to increase retail options and facilitate holiday gift shopping on Thursday evenings, LaRocque has worked with Ron Milkey to organize a pop-up market featuring crafters and home business vendors in the vacant storefront next to Kellie’s on Adrian Street. As of last Wednesday, she had eighteen vendors interested. There won’t be a fee for the vendors participating, but businesses will be encouraged to donate to two local charities, Diuble Family Vision (founded by a local family, raising funds to fight blindness and purchase emergency alarms for the hearing impaired) and Canines of Hope (currently raising funds to purchase a diabetic alert dog for local kindergartner).

DDA chair, Pat Vailliencourt offered to work with the downtown merchants to promote the late Thursdays and pop-up markets. She also offered DDA funds to have yard signs printed, and clarified the Village’s sign ordinance, explaining that temporary signs will be permitted downtown on Thursday evenings. The DDA also offered merchants “Make it Manchester” T-shirts to use as they see fit for promotion. One question that came up during the discussion was whether or not downtown merchants could bring in food trucks on Thursday evenings. The answer was “no.” Manchester has an ordinance prohibiting transient merchants. Vailliencourt explained that if this is something the community wants, the Village Council could investigate ordinances from communities that allow food trucks, but that she encouraged working with downtown restaurants to fill that need on Thursday evenings.

If you interested in selling at a Thursday evening pop-up market, contact Sue LaRocque via email at or  call 734.649.2993.

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