Waterfront Market Moving Out of St. Andrews - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Waterfront Market Moving Out of St. Andrews

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The familiar sights, smells and sales of the St. Andrew Waterfront Market will no longer welcome visitors on Saturday mornings, for now.

A reworked city policy targeting vendor requirements kept the market's founder from renewing it's permit this year.

The market was set to open on February 16th, but now they are moving out all together. It's a move that could disrupt how St. Andrews does business.

"Having 3-5 thousand people walk around in St. Andrews on Saturday Mornings and in Panama City is a HUGE deal," said Director, Ronnie Barnes.

Now, the sun is setting on the popular Saturday tradition. Barns cited language discrepancies in Panama City's 2013 Event Handbook Policy.

"We felt the language was anti-business," said Barnes.

According to the handbook, organizers are required to submit a list of venders in order to appropriately levy a 1% sales tax associated with Panama City businesses

Barnes said the flexibility of their vendor policy is disrupted with these new stipulations, which she said requires proper paperwork be walked in or mailed to city hall, and would make the list public for all to see.

"Our plea was make the system business friendly; put something online that they can download, fax in, email in, and get some sort of automatic reply," said Barnes.

Barnes said their pleas did not change policy, and when the February 5th deadline to renew came up, she couldn't sign it.

Meanwhile, the impact of the market leaving is concerning for other St. Andrew merchants, including Charter Captain James Pic.

I actually have received business because of Ronnie's market on the weekends. It's a big circle, and if we take part of that circle away from our economy here in St. Andrews or even Panama City, it hurts us all," said Pic.

For Barnes, she's hopeful they will one day return.

"When the language changes and when it's welcoming to small business and it's welcoming to the farmers market, I tell you there is no better place on the planet to have a farmers market than right here in St. Andrews," she said.

Until then, they are moving to Grand Lagoon in unincorporated Bay County on Saturdays in addition to Sundays.

Still, they may not be in the clear. The county recently passed parking lot vendor regulations in time for Spring Break that could disrupt business if they increase their frequency.