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updated: 7/12/2012 1:27 PM

European-style market plan in Vernon Hills depends on vendor interest

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  • An open-air style European market, like this one in Lisle, soon could be opening in Vernon Hills but may be delayed until next year.

    An open-air style European market, like this one in Lisle, soon could be opening in Vernon Hills but may be delayed until next year.
    Daily Herald file, 2006


An open-air style European market could open in Vernon Hills but the timing depends on the availability of vendors.

With the farm market season in full swing, there has been limited interest among vendors in a late call to fill slots in a French Market. Village officials have approved the concept operated by Bensidoun USA Inc. in several other communities, but its opening at the Metra parking lot on Route 45 may be delayed until 2013.

"You want the experience to be good for residents and vendors," said Village Manager Mike Allison. He said about five or six vendors had expressed interest so far and if more agree in coming weeks, the market could open Aug. 4. Bensidoun in its literature listed Vernon Hills as being open Saturdays, Aug. 4 through Sept. 29, but that is in flux.

The markets feature fruits and vegetables and other products, as well as offerings from local restaurants and crafts.

"We're looking for producers of goods from local orchards and farms, as well as artisan breads, cheeses and meats," said Leslie Cahill, a Bensidoun representative. "We also hope to have participation from Vernon Hills-area restaurants and emerging designers who wish to provide one-of-a-kind crafts including home decor and jewelry."

French Markets this season are operating in several communities including Lombard, Homewood, Sugar Grove, Villa Park, Lisle, Skokie Old Orchard, Western Springs, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Wilmette and Geneva. A French Market is scheduled to open next week at Prudential Plaza in Chicago, and like in Vernon Hills, vendors are being sought to open in Country Club Hills.

According to its literature, Bensidoun operates large and small markets "unique to meet the needs of the community" its in. All include the base of fresh produce, baked goods, cheeses grass-fed meats and organic specialties, according to the company.

The village board on Tuesday approved the transfer of $12,000 in contingency funds into three accounts involving the market to pay for purchases of material and equipment, including a 20-foot steel storage container and for costs associated with the installation of tent anchors in the parking lot.

Vernon Hills has a three-year contract with Bensidoun with a 5-year renewal possible. A fee is not part of the agreement, although the village will receive its share of sales tax from the transactions.

The village a few years ago joined the trend with a farmers market at the Westfield Hawthorn shopping center but it did not do well and was discontinued.

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