The Edinboro Market features foods grown and produced within 200 miles of the borough.
EDINBORO — Marti Martz and Curtis Hals used to travel around Erie County buying locally grown and produced foods.
Now farmers and other food makers visit the couple at the Edinboro Market, 109 Erie St. The new, nonprofit store features food and food-related items that are grown or manufactured within 200 miles of Edinboro.
“We wanted to have one location where people could buy a variety of local foods,” said Martz, 56. “It’s an opportunity to support the local economy.”
Edinboro Market is actually two businesses in one location. Martz is the president of the market, which is a nonprofit organization, while Hals owns the Boro Sweet Spot, a for-profit bakery located in the store.
The rest of the market is filled with items from 16 different regional farms and food makers. It includes beef, honey, chocolate, eggs, coffee, salsa, and milk — both raw and pasteurized. Eighty percent of the money from sales goes to the farmer/producer and the remaining 20 percent goes to the market to cover expenses.
“It’s wonderful to have a store like this, especially this time of year when there are no farmers markets,” said Lisa Dvorak, owner of Live and Learn Farms of Edinboro, who sells microgreens in the store. “Everything is local and sales have been good.”
Martz and Hals thought sales would be sluggish to start, since they opened Dec. 14 — well after the local harvest. But people have been finding their store and buying plenty of food.
“We’ve had folks who have already shopped here three, four, five times,” Hals said. “They’re buying staple items, like eggs, milk and bread.”
Laurie Parendes shops at the Edinboro Market on her way to and from work at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, where she is a professor.
She has known Martz and Hals since well before they opened the market, and was excited to learn it was located in downtown Edinboro.
“I like to support local producers and they have a nice diversity of things,” said Parendes, 59. “I even was able to find some Christmas gifts for friends and family.”
Once summer arrives, the store will include fresh fruit and vegetables from area farms, said Martz, who continues to work as a coastal outreach specialist with Pennsylvania Sea Grant.
The couple also plans to host educational classes about local food at the market.
These Second Saturday Seminars will include partners from the Erie County Department of Health, Garden of Edin Community Garden, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Penn State Cooperative Extension.
“We’re working for the future,” said Hals, a former information technology consultant who also worked for 20 years in the restaurant business. “People want to know where their food comes from. Whether the bees who make the honey they buy are treated well, and whether the cows who produce the milk they buy are treated well.”
The Edinboro Market is open Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from 8 a.m. to noon.