CAMDEN — After securing Select Board endorsement for the idea of creating outdoor vendor space at the Tannery Park on Washington Street, in Camden, town staff members are now surveying businesses for interest in participating in “Pop-Up Camden.”
The goal is to provide space for merchants to sell wares outdoors. Pop- Up Camden is to be on Fridays, from 11 a.m to 4 p.m., and the town hopes to launch the first Friday as soon as possible.
“We want to start right away (this Friday) with whoever is able to be involved and hopefully build on this event from there,” said Town Manager Audra Caler.
Establishing a town-sponsored outdoor sales area originated earlier this month, when one former downtown business owner contacted town planner Jeremy Martin. The query came as a result of COVID-19, as business owners struggle to limit the number of customers inside stores, and maintain suitable physical distancing.
Jennel Johnson-Pendleton, owner of Barefoot in Denim, on Bay View Street, asked the town for permission to set up a mobile shop on Knowlton Street, below the Teen Center.
But the town’s planner, Jeremy Martin, suggested to the Select Board in a subsequent July 2 memo that the Tannery property would be better suited for the operation.
“In my review of the Town’s Hawking and Peddling Ordinance, the SB or their designee may allow use of town property for hawking and peddling, as defined, as part of an event,” he wrote. “I would suggest that you approve Barefoot in Denim, as the first vendor to participate in a Covid19 related ‘Pop-Up Friday’ event. We are reaching out the Chamber and the Camden Area Business Group, to let their members know that this is in the works.”
He told the Select Board, which responded favorably to the idea of a pop-up venue at its July 7 meeting, that Town Attorney Bill Kelly was drafting a license agreement to use with each vendor, and which is to include indemnification language and the obligation of the vendor to name the Town as an additional insured on their liability policy.
The Select Board said the Tannery, on Washington Street in the Millville neighborhood of Camden, would provide plenty of space to maintain physical distances, “ample fresh air and a golden opportunity to use town-owned space for the common good,” in a July 16 news release. “Not to mention, for some merchants (vendors), this could provide an additional retail space to their in-town location yet not be too close to compete for foot traffic.”
Camden is currently soliciting businesses to sign up as vendors for a space. There is no rental fee. A signed license agreement is required from each participating business owner. Vendors are required to carry liability insurance, per the license agreement.
Pop-Up Camden would run through Oct. 12, 2020. All businesses would need to provide their own tent and retail furnishings, as desired. The Town of Camden will cover costs associated with marketing and advertising the event.