I just wrote a lovely, long review of Turkey Creek Public Market (TCPM), and I lost the blasted thing when WordPress crashed. So I’m going to try this again before I forget everything I said.
You may remember that last August I wrote a rather stern review of TCPM after they first opened. I’ve been back to the market several times since then, including doing a good bit of Christmas shopping there, and my opinions have changed a little bit. Then, ironically, John Turley (he works at the market) left a comment on my About page, asking me to come back and give the market another chance. Ironic, because I’d just been to the market the day before he left that comment, for their big Wheel of Fortune event. (My aunt wanted to try out, but I flatly refused to get on stage in front of thousands of people.) Anyway, if he hadn’t left that comment, I probably wouldn’t give TCPM another review, but since he did, and because in fact my opinions have actually changed somewhat, I decided to give an updated review.
I think this will be best expressed in Pro and Con lists.
-When you shop here, you are supporting small, local businesses, artisans, and farmers. I especially recommend shopping here for Christmas, because you’ll find some great deals and unique gift ideas.
-A lot of the vendors that were from out of state or that sold overpriced junk have gone to other markets, so it’s much easier to find quality items at the good booths.
-For the most part the crowds, that I complained about at length in my previous review, have died down. It’s much easier to get around the market now.
-It’s very clean. The janitorial staff does a great job.
-There are plenty of places to sit down if you get tired or overwhelmed.
-The website and advertising is much better than it used to be. It’s not nearly as pretentious as it once was, so I can take it more seriously.
-They finally added new restaurants to the food court.
-The vendors are some of the nicest people you will meet. Which makes me want to shop there to support them.
-A lot of the shops have gone, leaving huge vacant aisles. I know several of the vendors and they said the reason they were leaving is because their booth rent was too high and they couldn’t make ends meet. The market as a whole is definitely more flea than artisan at this point. Almost all of the Market Square Farmer’s Market vendors have gone on to other markets and Magpies and Old City Java have both closed their booths down. And last time I was there, a couple weeks ago, Planet Xchange had closed their booth as well.
-It is still laid out in an unorganized mess. But I don’t think there is a good way to address that. The building itself isn’t a very good space for a flea market.
-The food court restaurants are ridiculously overpriced. The only one I would eat at is The Yellow Submarine because it is a small, local business instead of a chain. I still think it is pricey, though.
-Most of the farmer’s market and fresh, gourmet food vendors have gone. I suspected that would happen, but it is too bad.
A lot of my suggestions from my last review are still relevant. I’ve updated a few of them, though.
-Take a rolling cart or reusable shopping bags. It will make your life easier.
-Carry cash. A lot of the places do take cards, but not all of them. There is at ATM in the food court, but it charges ridiculous fees.
-Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. It isn’t laid out the best, so you’ll do a lot of backtracking.
-Go on Saturday. Last time I said Sunday, but I’ve since realized that you have a better chance of all the booths being open on a Sunday. Some vendors don’t open on Fridays or they open late on Sundays for church.
-If you think something is too expensive, haggle. Most vendors will drop their prices.
-Plan to go somewhere else for lunch. If that is not an option, go to The Yellow Submarine.
-Take your small dog if you want, but I think they have to be in a stroller.
-Clean your car out before you go so you’ll have space to stow stuff.
Shops you should definitely go to: TJ Books, Bin’s Variety, the Kitchen Shop, and all the outside vendors. Because they pay less in rent, they often have better deals and you can find some really great things, like antique dishes and linens.
Shops to stay away from: Goodwill in the back of the store. They never have a good selection and they are pricey on the things they have. I dislike all the turnstiles and fences around their area, as though they are afraid people will shoplift the items that Goodwill basically gets for free. Seems rude.
My updated score of TCPM, 10 being highest, and 1 being lowest is a 7. If they could get some of the artisans and local vendors back, it’d probably be an 8.