As soon the Safer at Home order was issued in mid-March, one of Michael McTernan’s thoughts was “How will local farmers move their goods during the harvest season?”
This concern, as well as how to provide consumers with access to goods in the event of a long-term lockdown, was the genesis of Kenosha Public Market.
McTernan, a local business and real estate attorney, and a group of other concerned Kenoshan residents developed plans for KMP2GO, an online platform by which vendors could sell their goods and consumers could access them.
“It pretty much started out in earnest during COVID shutdown,” McTernan said. “I saw the need of vendors who were very concerned about what’s going to go on (with local farmers markets this year). They had crops in the ground, foods being processed and they needed a venue to sell them at.”
Organizers of KMP hoped to have an onsite, public market, but realized they needed to plan “a parallel track” for online sales.
The response of area vendors was strong, said McTernan. “When we announced it, my phone rang off the hook; there is definitely a demand for the vision and the mission,” he said.
Plans for an outdoor venue began as soon as businesses began reopening in accordance with initiatives set forth by the Kenosha Kickstart program, McTernan said.
In addition to helping local growers during challenging times, McTernan said the KPM vision stems from memories of his grandparents who were Italian grocers in Kenosha. “Growing up alongside my grandparents, I watched the relationships they built with their customers….We plan on providing our community with that same reassuring connection to our local growers and producers.”
KPM will operate its outdoor market, located in the block of the Kenosha Transit hub and Veteran’s Park, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays, through Oct. 6. Online ordering through KMP2Go launches Monday June 29 and is set to run 52 weeks each year.
McTernan says KMP is also exploring an indoor venue for winter months.
McTernan anticipates participation of some 60 vendors from now through the end of the current season.
Online items will include many non-essential items not available at the outdoor market, noted McTernan.
For more information about KPM and KPM2Go, visit www. kenoshapublicmarkets.com./
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