Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Mystery of the Market House Trust

In response to citizens' questions submitted to this website, as well as the veil of mystery shrouding the workings of the Columbia Historic Market House Trust, I've uncovered the following information. 

Board members are as follows:

Chairman Cleon Berntheizel
Vice-Chairman Don Haines
Secretary Rebecca Murphy
Treasurer Elaine Beckley
Member (nonvoting) Ed Schopf
Member Jodie Eck (nonvoting)
Member (nonvoting) as of yet unnamed

Historically, the Trust has met at the Mount Bethel Cemetery Superintendent's House, but reportedly now meets at Cafe Garth, or the residence of its owner, Cleon Bertheizel, on Second Street.

The following "Rules of the Columbia Historic Market House" document (from 5/10/2012) has been distributed to all vendors.
(Click on the image for a larger view.)



A contact address for the Trust can be seen on the above document:
CHMHT, P.O. Box 688, Columbia, PA 17512
The Market House's website can be found HERE. Its Facebook page is HERE

Recently, Vice-Chairman Don Haines posed for the photograph shown above with the Market House's new bistro-style furniture.  The removal of the previous furniture was discussed at last Monday night's Columbia Borough Council meeting and was thought to have been removed without authorization.  The furniture is considered borough property, and the matter is under investigation.

An article about the Trust appeared in Lancaster Newspapers last year.

Recently a "Notice of Violation" was presented by the Trust to vendors who signed a petition to abolish the entity. Vendors had presented the petition to borough council amid accusations of mismanagement by the Trust.

 Recently, one vendor had been closed down by the Trust for two days due to operating an allegedly unclean stand.

Currently, most of the vendor stands available sit empty.  One estimate puts vendor occupancy at less than one quarter of the Market House.



41 comments:

  1. Can we revisit my police car garage idea yet?

    --fmb

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  2. How about something like the "Theater of 7 Sisters" in Lancaster ! or an old fashion movie house running old black and white movies for $1.00 per show with 25 cent pop corn !

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  3. Where does the money come from to keep it open and operating when there is little to no vendor rent coming in ?

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    1. I think some of it is allotted by Council.

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  4. It is very sad to see this failing. I thought the market house had a chance when it was decided to re-open it years ago. Problem is there are people in charge who feel they must micro-manage when in fact they know little about running a market house. Time to show mercy and pull the plug on this unless the trust is dissolved and the operation and oversight is put in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing.

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  5. Pull the plug, this town doesn't deserve a historic market house. Maybe just pull the plug on the whole town, flush it down the river with all of the sewer from the cabins.

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  6. Obliviously, the Trust can't make the market happen, and with the history of tried and mostly failed attempts it would be a step backwards to try again. Seems like it's time for council to seriously consider other options for the building, and options that don't cost the taxpayers more money.

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  7. the trust has more power then the boro council.for some reason they were aloud to do what they want and no one can stop them.thia is columbia,not some upscale town.its time to get some courage from council n remove trust and go back to one day n make thursday mkt a destination like roots on tues
    or gr dragon on friday.columbia is a one day mkt.if other stands want more days,i see no problem as long as its no cost to boro.why is boro making up difference to pay bills because trust runs the market into the ground?

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  8. Excellent Idea ! If anything will work, one day will work best. We are at least 5 years away from having enough of a customer base to support more then one day, and stand holders simply will not and can not afford to be at their stands more then one day. With one day they can easily be required to be at their stand the one day. Thursday is a good day and that could work, but Saturday is better. Saturday is absolutely the best day for retail down town, and the day that the stand holders will sell the most and make the most money. If the stand holders don't make money it will fail, so give them the best day. It should be very easy to fill a one day Saturday market with new vendors, by the end of the year.

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  9. you say " go back to one day " which has merit, but it is "going back" ! , and at this point in time, not too many people want to " go back" to anything at this market ! It's time to "GO FORWARD" and find a better use for the building ! Why does everyone think that the building has to be a Market when there are ten other things that might work better.

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  10. Well since the borough applied for and received grant monies under the pretense that they would use it as a market, I don't think there are other options. unless the borough wants to pay back all of the Grant monies.

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  11. OK here's the deal it's not the market house or the vendors with the problem. It is the TRUST!!!! The Market was thriving when Carmen had it and when Renae had a few years before. What happened to it now???? "THE TRUST IS WHAT HAPPENED TO IT" Get rid of the TRUST and put in a sole Market Manager and this place with a Market Committee consisting of Stand holders Residents and Council and watch this place take off again. HELL Bring Carmen back as Manager and watch what happens.

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  12. If the Grant Money had a condition, and if Council and/or The Trust has something better to do with the building, then they can go to the County or whoever gave the grant and ask for a modification to the conditions. Nothing is permanent, and The Trust is not all to do with the problems. The Columbia residents did not exactly come out in groves to support the good stand holders that stuck it out. If you want to be honest, take a pole, most of the ten thousand people that live in Columbia don't really care if we have a market or not because these days you can get fresh produce at the grocery store.

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  13. Perhaps "one day" is the way to go, but why not make that a Saturday or Sunday when people are in town at the antique markets. The market house must offer more than produce to keep going. Why not add a few stands for antiques. While the Saturdays Market in Middletown is a bit of a hillbilly place, they do draw a huge crowd. It would be great to have some artists in the market house along with some upscale food vendors. It has to appeal to a new or different group of patrons.

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    1. The market house barely offered any produce since its reopening. That was part of the problem. People are not going to come back to a place selling dog bones, knock off jewelery, popcorn and avon crap.

      Putting more junk (and I include most antiques in that category) in that building is doing more of the same. And If you want to open it up as an antique/junk space, that's fine. Just don't pretend it is a market house anymore. Nor complain about other proposed uses for said building.

      This isn't the last century anymore. People downtown apparently have little interest in a market, and most people have zero reason to go downtown anymore. Online banking and direct deposit made sure of that. Plus most of the grocery stores have local produce, and there's plenty of stands within a 5 minute drive that offer convenience the market house just can't compete with anymore.

      --FMB

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    2. Where do u get off judging anything is crap. Apparently you haven't been in the market lately cause there is no dog bones & there's handmade jewelry not knockoff jewelry. And for your information the Avon stand does VERY well there so apparently most of the community wants it in there, especially since Avon was requested several times on a survey conducted which was taken by members of the community. So get your information right before being rude and ignorant!

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  14. The Trust IS the problem. We stopped going to the Market because of the Trust ! Get rid of the Trust and I will start going again.

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  15. Had to be doing something right before because it drew the attention of Obama and he stopped in unannounced. When something works, why fix it?

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    1. When something works, you must maintain it, or it won't work for long.

      --FMB

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  16. OBAMA WAS PRE_TRUST DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  17. Somebody tell council, if they took office for the betterment of the town.. then step up and call!

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  18. Do you think Obama woke up one day and said " I want to go to Columbia because I heard that it has a great Farmers Market " ? It was a political connection that got him here - and the same kind of political connection that got us listed as the top places to visit in the USA ! Thank you Leo !!

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  19. Why not team up with Senator Brubaker and make the Market House the official Lancaster County Hunger Garden ? see https://www.facebook.com/SenatorBrubaker

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  20. People should not stopping to market because of trust or the seating or things that happen the past. The market is trying to survive but without everyones support it will fail. To have have a thriving market you need customers, to draw the customers you need vendors. It's a tough spot to be in and to be in charge of running no matter who it is there will be back lash. It takes time, faith to get things going and trust that the future hold nothing but positive things for market. Change is good but it has to be excepted and believe the outcome will better the community and the market. Please come out and support the market house and vendors the have dedication to make it work!
    A transplant that call Columbia home

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    1. Its the management of the Market house that is the issue. That needs to change. When It does I will start to go again. The Market House will not succeed with the current management, I think we all see that.

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  21. It might be too late, the market is all but dead.

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  22. I found out Cole that this article is full of erroneous information. You should do your own fact finding in order to gain credibility.

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    1. Please elaborate. I welcome any corrections.

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  23. First off, thank you for posting the information that you were able to locate!

    I find it troubling to see that the "Trust" can close down a stand holder for uncleanliness- are they now Code Enforcement Officers as well?

    Has anyone located the picnic tables? If they were property of the Borough of Columbia- maybe they can relocate them to a park- or better yet, put them back in the Market House!

    The whole issue is sad- for the vendors, for their customers, and for Columbia citizens. A few are ruining the income for the vendors, creating a bad experience for their small customer base, and meanwhile, another entity of what could be a steady draw of people to the Borough slides downhill and will "fade to black" if it closes.

    Another topic to visit- is the food safety inspections for the stand holders in the Market House - how do we know it is safe? This is not public information - or actually- it is public information, but it is all but impossible to access.

    Can anyone shed light on these issues?

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  24. I thought that "food safety inspections" are something that Lancaster County does and then posts results in the Sunday Newspaper ? These are independent restaurants in the market so don't they come under the same inspections ?

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    1. Most places that serve food are subject to inspections under the Food Safety Act: http://www.eatsafepa.com/FAQs.aspx

      A complete listing of all inspections at food serving facilities in Lancaster, York counties and the entire state, except those in Columbia – Columbia persists in having its own inspection system with its own forms and inspection items – rather than the one used statewide, is available at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Website.

      https://www.pafoodsafety.state.pa.us/web/inspection/publicinspectionsearch.aspx

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  25. yes WHY is it that Columbia does NOT post food inspections in the paper and on the website...isn't it state law?????????????? everyone else complies.

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  26. the Market HOuse Trust IS the problem at market. Remove the trust and this is your last try to get it right. start by opening ONE DAY a week...thursdays..i remember when rap's was there! excellent food and conversation!!!!! renee and carmen both did a good job.

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  27. i have to say i agree! the trust IS the problem. remove every one of them. maybe you can get some amish to run the market...they know how to do!

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  28. Good fortunes on purchasing your fantasy home and keep this article convenient when you're picking a home assessor.www.ashi.com

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