HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP — Cumberland County’s second Amish market opens in the township’s industrial park today, an event that brings a tourist attraction and shopping to an area devoid of both.
Greater Bridgeton Amish Farm Market features 13 vendors selling baked goods, meats, fruits, vegetables, flowers, sheds and children’s playground equipment.
Market developer Scott Burnley said the facility — located in the township’s industrial park at Route 49 and Cassidy Court — will be a little different from other Amish markets in the region. The market will sell items such as seafood and pizza, something not traditionally found in Amish markets, he said. Amish vendors, including several whose families work with other Amish markets, are agreeable to the additions, he said.
“We have to be aware of what the area wants,” Burnley said, adding the market will also have buggy rides. “They don’t want to do something that they don’t feel comfortable with.”
Kimberly Wood, dicrector of the Cumberland County Department of Planning and Development, said the market will have a “significant impact on the western side of the county.”
“What’s really significant is the diversity that it provides,” Wood said. “They western side of the county will have the availability of specialty items so that they don’t have to leave the county to get them. They’re living in Cumberland County, and they’re spending their money in Cumberland County.”
The market also gives the county the opportunity to market another attraction, she said.
“People like to shop,” Wood said. “I can’t imagine that anybody who goes there won’t be pleased with what they find.”
Work began on the $3.5 million, 25,000-square-foot facility about a year ago.
On Wednesday, vendors were busy stocking shelves and trying out equipment that included deep fryers for donuts. One group of Amish girls was getting a lesson in how to work a credit card machine.
The Amish market is only about 15 miles away from Landis MarketPlace in Vineland. That venue on Landis Avenue in the city’s downtown business district in May 2011 and also has an Amish market.
Burnley said he is not worried about competition. Adding a second Amish market in the area will likely just attract more customers, he said.
Burnley said The Greater Bridgeton Amish Farm Market will likely attract customers from western Cumberland County, along with Salem and Gloucester counties and Delaware. Another targeted group involves motorist who travel Route 49 to get to seashore resorts in Atlantic and Cape May counties, he said.
“It’s no coincidence that we’re on Route 49,” he said.
The Amish market in Landis MarketPlace also draws customers from Cumberland County. Facility operators also say their customer base in growing in Cape May and Atlantic Counties.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is backing a $1.5 million bank loan for the Amish market here.
Department officials said when work began on the facility last year that they have no concerns about supporting the project. An informal department study of Amish markets in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland showed that none ever failed despite the growing number of those enterprises.
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