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Public Market dons Turkey Creek label

The former Outlet Mall off Outlet Drive is midway through an extensive facelift before it re-opens its doors for the first time in nearly 20 years as Turkey Creek Public Market.

The Market is now officially being billed as Turkey Creek Public Market — a change from its unofficial “Farragut Public Market” moniker.

Charles Atchley Sr., developer of the Great Smokies Flea Market, and Jim Nixon and John Turley of Turkey Creek Land Partners, are billing the Public Market as a community center.

The Market, which is slated to open in spring of 2011, will have about 800 indoor booth spaces, plus 150 or so booths for outdoor sales, and be open only on weekends.

“We’re on budget and on schedule,” Atchley said.

“It’s more of a development than I anticipated ... it’s a lot of work,” he added.

The building, which was constructed in the 1970s, has had to be brought up to code, not to mention various repairs caused by the mall’s long vacancy.

All of the building’s interior walls have been torn down, and most of the parking lot has been demolished. The entire roof will have to be replaced, as will most of the wiring and all of the heating and air conditioning.

But according to Atchley, the Turkey Creek Public Market is still due to open in spring 2011, and he hopes the Market will fill a need for area shoppers.

“People want to buy real good clothing, real good items, cheaper. And so they buy a lot of second-hand or ‘previously enjoyed’ clothing,” Atchley said.

“And we’ll have some ‘previously enjoyed’ items here, at Turkey Creek Public Market,” he added.

According to Atchley, the Public Market also will be an incubator for small businesses — people who otherwise might not be able to afford a physical business location.

“Especially people who are just wanting to start in business and don’t know how: we help them get started. We teach them what they need, and the way of licenses, sales tax numbers, and what’s the best thing to sell if they don’t know what to sell,” Atchley said.

Atchley said he’d already had several vendors commit to coming when the Public Market opens.

“I’ve already rented a space to a homemade fudge shop that has the greatest fudge I’ve ever eaten,” he laughed.

Other food vendors on the list will sell pralines, candy and caramelized nuts. Atchley said he had other vendors lined up as well, especially antique dealers.

“And we’ll have a section for animals, like pet shops and the Humane Society ... we help them find a home for the animals.

Other areas include a farmer’s market area, plus arts and crafts dealers and even individuals who want to sell estate items or such.

“There are so many things coming, I’m really excited about it. It will be a neat place to go, just to hang out on Saturday, and walk and shop and just meet people there. It’s a meeting place,” Atchley said.

The building’s iconic cross shape will lead to a unique setting for a market inside.

Vendors will be situated throughout the building in wide aisles, as well as a concentration of farmer’s market vendors in front of the building, lining the sidewalks. Restaurants will be situated in the Market’s four corners with a food court in the center.

“Since we have four entrance doors and two main corridors, I decided to make a center court section. And it reminds me of some of the old towns around, that have a ‘center town’ where people go to their meetings and such in the old days.

“So I wanted to have a raised area in the center with seating and an entertainment area with four to six restaurants or snack bars or specialty shops with food,” Atchley said.

The area will have seasonal entertainment — rather from schools, professionals or just a guy with a guitar.

“People can sit around and relax while maybe their spouse shops, or if someone wants to just sit down and have lunch and shop at one of our eateries,” Atchley said.

“All roads lead to this area,” he added of the set-up with food court in the center of the building.

And he means that quite literally — the vendor aisles will have road names for easy identification, and all of them will lead to center court.

Atchley also has raised the ceiling above the court, allowing natural light to stream in.

“It’ll be really nice,” Atchley said.

The Public Market likely will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

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