Just a couple weeks after MJ Panciera opened her new indoor flea market in Westerly, R.I., she had to fight to keep it from being shut down. Five of her neighbors filed grievances with the local government hoping to cancel Panciera’s provisional license to operate her new Piazza On Canal Indoor Flea Market.
However, at its May 24 meeting, the Town of Westerly dismissed the objections. According to a news report in The Westerly Sun, the grievances were tossed out, evidently because the people who objected did not show up to a required meeting.
One of the organizations that objected to the flea market was the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly. A member of that group, Mary Anne Sherman, spoke with FleaMarketZone, noting that she was voicing her own opinion and not speaking for the whole cooperative. She said that she was concerned the flea market might depress sales at nearby shops. “There were several businesses downtown that felt that it was not appropriate, and we had our say. The town council decided this, so we’ll see what will happen,” says Sherman.
FleaMarketZone has yet to reach Panciera directly, but has learned that the market, which is open seven days a week, has 36 spaces available to rent by the day, week, or month. There are special rates for residents and repeat vendors. The monthly rate is $13 to $16 dollars per day. The Piazza on Canal is located at 3 Canal Street. The market has been advertising in the local newspaper and on radio.
The new market has already made several improvements to meet licensing requirements, including dedicated parking and a promise that vendor loading and unloading will take place outside business hours. The town licensing board will also conduct a review after 90 days.