104 North Pleasant Street, Amherst
Souper Bowl, a 2,200 square foot, five-year-old downtown restaurant could be calling it quits, but another somewhat unique food establishment could soon replace it.
All Things Local Store, a sort of indoor farmers and crafts market, is attempting to raise $15,000 by July 31 in order to transition from cyber dream to bricks-and-mortar reality.
The operation would act like a consignment store allowing farmers and crafts persons to sell their wares and simply pay a small commission to the store for each item sold. Organizers are currently negotiating to buy all the restaurant equipment from Souper Bowl which would allow for safe food preparation and storage.
The building is owned by Barry Roberts, a tireless advocate for a thriving downtown.
Certainly demand is there: The Amherst Select Board just approved an expansion request for the 42-year-old downtown "flagship" Amherst Farmers Market, allowing them to use a piece of Boltwood Avenue in front of the Lord Jeffery Inn.
Last winter the Amherst Middle School hosted a Saturday Winter Farmers Market. And the outdoor Wednesday Farmers Market at Kendrick Park seems to be growing.
Wednesday Farmers Market Kendrick Park
Amherst Community Market, another competing group, has organized around the concept of a cooperative food (super) market jointly owned and operated by workers and consumers. In the late 1970s Amherst supported a thriving natural foods coop, Yellow Sun.
Thus, a year-round indoor facility could certainly find a successful niche -- especially in health conscious Amherst.
Indeed, the business will still involve farming