Holiday shopping couldn’t be any easier. With the arrival of the Holly and Ivy Market at the site of the former Yale Co-op, students and area residents will be able to partake in holiday cheer as well as famed New York City shopping.
Organizers said the success of the weekend market, now entering its fourth week, has exceeded their expectations.
“All in all, we are extremely happy,” said Andrea Pizziconi ’01, a financial analyst with University Properties. “Most people would like to see it continue all year round.”
The idea for the winter market originally came from looking at ways for New Haven to attract quality businesses to its downtown core, said Scott Healy, the executive director of Town Green Special Services District
“Our goal was to attract retail to downtown to illustrate that this is a strong location for business,” Healy said.
Currently hosting over 50 vendors and 20 local artists, the market offers participants incentives such as reduced weekend rates at the Omni Hotel and low exhibiting rates of $200 instead of the typical $3,000 charged at Manhattan holiday markets.
“We wanted to provide an opportunity for New York retailers to come to an affordable location and see what New Haven is like,” Healy said.
Organizers said the market filled an important void left on the corner of Chapel and Temple streets by the closure of the Yale Co-op last year.
“It was the largest vacancy downtown as well as the most obvious,” Healy said. “The energy and feel of the city was negatively affected by the large vacancy.”
Since the opening of the market, Healy said he has noticed an increased volume of shoppers in the downtown core.
“Judging from the foot traffic we have seen, there have been a lot more people on the streets and at later hours,” he said.
While the organizers said they hoped the market would be a central holiday shopping destination, they chose vendors that would not compete with existing local businesses.
“New Haven has strong boutique retail already,” Healy said. “We were careful to choose vendors that would not compete for business with local vendors.”
Sharon Baluta, an antiques vendor from Pennsylvania, said she was pleased by the many different kinds of merchandise available at the market.
“I think this is a really unique mix with quality,” she said. “The real key here has been the quality.”
Baluta also said the market’s pleasant and unhurried atmosphere was central to customer satisfaction.
“It’s easy shopping and it’s relaxed,” she said.
Area residents said they were excited about the market and its offerings.
“I think it’s really great and a lot of fun,” New Haven resident Liz McManus said. “I definitely hope to see this in future years.”
One shopper, Branford resident Jay Borzillo, said the market is a nice improvement to New Haven.
“New Haven has come quite a long way from the way it used to be,” he said.
Beth Rosen, an upscale accessories and clothing vendor from New York City, said the market is a good opportunity for students to get their Christmas shopping done before heading home for the holidays.
“Students are so short on time,” she said. “This is the ideal place for them to come find unique items for loved ones and increase their Christmas shopping productivity.”