The Central Market sign stands on the corner of North Market Street and Lincoln Highway. KAYLA MITCHELL / THE SNAPPER
“You can go anywhere in the country and shop at the same Walmart, but there is no other place like The Central Market,” expresses Melissa Siwiec, executive director of The Central Market Trust.
Since Lancaster was designated a market town 300 years ago by King George II, the city has been deemed as a place that embraced people from different walks of life and their passions. Central Market carries this same ambiance, operating in a historic building over 150 years old and operating under the same principles they have carried since opening.
With over 60 stands, Central Market focuses on providing a platform and giving voices to small businesses within the community. Not only does this market include produce, dairy, and meat stands, but showcases a large variety of food. From sweet candies to decadent chocolates, a variety of ethnic foods, and midday pick-me-up coffee, Central Market truly offers something for everyone.
Siwiec is passionate about supporting local food culture and conveying that within the Market itself.
“Supporting local food culture is important because that is what makes a community so special,” she says, “finding those little nuanced places that pop up from within the community, and being able to share a part of their world is so special.”
One of these stands is Oola Bowls, which has had a stand at Central Market for more than four years. Oola Bowls, located at Stand 51, centers itself around creating different variations of acai bowls whilst incorporating fresh, local produce. When presented with the opportunity to open a stand at Central Market, Oola Bowls immediately felt at home.
“Central Market keeps a sense of community alive,” stated Jackie Wiggins, brand director of Oola Bowls, “we love all the loyal fans we gained by being a part of Lancaster Central Market. It feels a lot like a family, between other stand-holders as well as all of the customers!”
No matter how much The Market has grown in terms of adding stand holders or in popularity, they have never strayed from the values they have had since the King’s proclamation.
“Since then our market has operated every week without fail from the center of Lancaster City,” Siwiec proclaimed, “the experience of entering The Central Market is irreplaceable.”
The Central Market’s Board of Directors works together to ensure that both the consumers and stand holders have the most optimal experience every time they enter the market. A large focus lately has been encouraging engagement with the younger demographic of college-age students. By adding new programs like online ordering and delivery services, adding stands catering more towards “trendy” foods such as Oola Bowls and Safe & Sweet, and developing new internships in information technology, marketing, and outreach, Central Market encourages MU students to make their way over!
With delicious lingering aromas, sounds of laughter, and seeing nothing but smiles as Siwiec would say “Central Market is a charming and magical place.”