AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A lot of local entrepreneurs and so many others are feeling the pinch of this health crisis.
A shopping tradition in the Garden City is now delayed. The Augusta Market was supposed to open June 6, but after reconsideration from the city government and market organizers, the opening was pushed back.
“As much as I would love to open, I do agree with the city that we should wait until August first,” said Brooke Buxton, Director of the Augusta Market.
This isn’t the first the opening has been rescheduled.
Buxton explained, “At first, we thought it was just going to be a two-week postponement. Then we thought we could open May second with an infection control plan. Then we thought again we could open on June sixth but along and along I’ve been in constant communication with the city. I didn’t find out until last Tuesday we were not able to open on the sixth.”
“They just didn’t have good communication as far as like two days before the event. They announced it’s going to be postponed until the end of summer so that’s another two months of waiting around to find an event to sell my art at and it is frustrating,” said Hannah Myers, a local artist.
Some vendors have requested refunds for the spring market or have transferred their money to participate in the fall market.
“Try and give them the benefit of the doubt and see it through. But unfortunately, I do know that people who have tried to get their money back it was a little bit difficult to do so and it was a lengthy process,” said Myers.
Buxton said, “I’m personally refunding everybody whether it’s one day. Whether it’s the full season. I’ve talked to a lot of vendors.”
Buxton’s duties with the Augusta Market is not her only job. She’s also a healthcare provider and hopes people will be patient as she sorts through the paperwork.
For Hannah Myers, the opening delay doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
She said, “We’ve seen a lot of gatherings in the recent week and rightfully so but we’re just trying to support ourselves.”
“It’s a push-pull. We’ve got to get the economy back. We’ve got to live again. But if one person were to get sick and die, is that worth six weeks of an open-air event? When we can just wait until we can figure this thing out,” said Buxton.
Myers added, “It seems like a lack of leadership really from the city and I just keep getting directed to other people. And it’s not in our hands. At this point, I’m just trying to make an income.”
The good news is, pop-up markets will start on June 21 t at Fairway Square (2825 Washington Rd, Augusta, GA 30909). It’s free for registered vendors. Augusta Market organizers hope to host them every Sunday until August first.