Once upon a few decades ago, the Kenosha National Bank welcomed customers depositing and withdrawing money into and out of their accounts.
The lobby of the former bank at 625 57th St., opened its doors Saturday to another form of commerce where customers will be getting another form of green — microgreen plants, lettuce and eventually fresh produce.
On Saturdays through May 1, the Kenosha Public Market will be doing trade at the bank space now known as the Vault Banquet Hall and Event Venue.
This is the second indoor location for the market since it made its debut outdoors last July. In October, as the winter season began, KPM began operating Saturdaysat the Lakefront Dugout, 620 59th St.
A relocation to the Vault was planned for next winter, but was moved up when the opportunity arose, said Laura Belsky, KPM treasurer.
“We were looking for an easy and accessible building with the opportunity to expand….“This building was a great solution — it’s centrally located and when the (new city) parking structure is done it will be even better,” she said.
“It was so great we could bring customers to the Dugout, but now we can expand our hours,” noted Jerry Gulley, KPM secretary.
The new hours are Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
About the site
Built in 1928, the Classical Revival style bank was purchased by Tom and Julie Kook, a Chicago couple in 2018.
It’s high sculptured ceiling, tall arched windows and original floor tiling create a unique ambience for the indoor farmers market, according to shoppers Saturday.
“This is a great use of the building,” exclaimed Kenosha resident Sabrina Northern. “I’ve lived here since 1983 but never had been in this building before.”
The site is subleased from Shel Parham, owner of Shel’s Bridal boutique who also leases space on the second and fourth floors of the building.
In 2020 Parham renovated the first floor into a banquet hall for weddings and other celebratory receptions.
Among the features is a full service bar along one wall, whose countertop is made up of hundreds of pennies encased in plastic resin. Open during market hours, some customers partook of mimosas of various flavors.
Also new is a limited capacity sit-down food court where shoppers can enjoy their beverages and food purchases.
In addition to shopping and sipping, market visitors can also take in the bank’s lower level which features a view of the original vault complete with original safety deposit boxes.
Twenty-four vendors came out on Saturday with 29 anticipated for next week, Belsky reported.
She noted that KPM2GO, the market’s online store available for pickup at the market, is also “taking off like crazy.”
By 10:15 a.m. the lobby was filled with customers, many recalling coming to the bank as children with their parents who had been bank customers.
“It’s awesome!” said Kenoshan Jim Pechous. “I love the ceiling and the old time vault is fantastic!”
“This is beautiful — I was so excited I couldn’t wait to check it out,” agreed Julie Francois of Kenosha.
Sipping mimosas were Kenosha residents Tenya Duffie and her sister Lemon Tyler. “This is really nice,” Duffie said.
“It’s just great to be out and seeing other Kenoshans,” Tyler said.
KPM vendors said they were also enthusiastic with the market’s new indoor digs.
“It’s a much better location,” said Rob Mitchell, of Mitchell Family Farms, purveyor of microgreens.
“It’s also warmer inside,” added his wife, Pam Mitchell.
“I think this is a great space and a better fit for (vendors),” said Daniel Sikorski, owner of The Eating Well, a vendor of ready-made natural foods.