Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Reading Terminal Market merchants who have been open on Sundays are, by and large, pleased with the results. Some are grateful, because the additional sales are helping to overcome the rent increases under the new leases.

But now, some merchants fear the Sunday experiment is threatened. They hear that Mayor Street does not like the idea of Sunday openings and may act, through his representatives on the Reading Terminal Market Corporation Board, to prevent making Sunday openings permanent.

I've got a call into the mayor's office to confirm these reports and will report once they get back to me.

More than half of the non-Amish merchants have been participating in the Sunday openings, and traffic has been growing. Last Sunday more than 15,000 visited, less than a normal Saturday but pretty close to the weekday average.

Although the overwhelming sentiment of non-Amish merchants is supportive of Sunday hours, it would be disingenuous to suggest that view is universal. A number of merchants understandably enjoy having their Sundays free for church, family or other non-mercantile endeavors. The issue, though, is this point of view may be forced upon those who do not share it. Market management has made it clear Sunday openings are strictly voluntary.

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