Bill Bernstein is so confident the business community will bounce back from the COVID-19 outbreak that he’s preparing to open a new farmers market in Brunswick in July.
“All the things that made downtown Brunswick a wonderful attractive and fun place to live and work before the pandemic are still the case after,” he said.
He’s not alone in that confidence.
Bernstein’s farmers market at the old Piddlers Antiques store on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard is among five new businesses that plan to open or have opened during the coronavirus pandemic.
Bernstein doesn’t think it is risky opening a new business in the 10,000-square-foot building, though he concedes the virus put a temporary hold on projects.
But “I’m not worried about the virus,” he said.
Brunswick Downtown Development Authority Director Mathew Hill said he didn’t expect to see so many new business starts. But he’s happy about the continued confidence in the future of the city’s downtown district.
Other new businesses opening include Courtyard Financial in the old Hey Girl Closet location on Gloucester Street and Hidden Treasures, a consignment shop near Cunningham’s Jewelers on Newcastle Street.
Hasherlon Taylor has moved her online sales business of hair extensions from the office in the Wick to a location on Gloucester Street. Her customer base has grown to where she is opening a walk-in business, She Hasz Heart, near So Glo Guitar Gallery.
The Baby Theater, 3D/4D ultrasound studio, will open on Newcastle Street. The business will provide a studio where family members will be able to watch high quality ultrasound images. The Brunswick location will have a separate theater area for family and friends with a large monitor for viewing.
As for Bernstein, he came to Brunswick over a year ago with a vision for the downtown district.
He purchased several buildings downtown, including the Zell Building on Gloucester Street, and opened Baredlous, a family entertainment game room/light menu restaurant on Newcastle Street next to Tipsy McSways. The business has pool tables, dart boards, other games and public events, with a menu of snacks and beverages that include beer and wine.
Bernstein said the farmers market will open on Tuesdays and Thursdays initially. There’s a likelihood it also will open on Saturdays.
The market will first open in the morning for restaurant owners and managers looking for fresh produce. Many local restaurants have arrangements with farmers for fresh produce and a local farmers market will make it more convenient for them, he said.
The market will open to the public a little later in the morning, Bernstein said.
He is working with a local marketing company familiar with the area to solicit vendors to sell fresh produce from the 40 stalls planned at the market.
Bernstein hopes the market will spur more boutique farming of diverse crops, especially those native to Southeast Georgia.
“You can grow produce all year here,” he said. “It will spur people to try different kinds of vegetables.”
Bernstein said he didn’t have to think long before deciding to name the new market Piddler’s Farmer Market.
“Piddler’s is such a landmark; everyone knows it,” he said. “It would be like calling the Ritz Theatre something else.”