ANNA MARIA ISLAND – Followers of the “Where is the Market?” Facebook page are anxiously awaiting what appears to be an imminent announcement of a new venue.
“I will be thankful at Thanksgiving that our market family will be together soon. However, because of the holiday I cannot get the needed paperwork until the 29th as people are on vacation,” Nancy Ambrose wrote on the page Nov. 18. “So the Sunday market will not start on Dec. 4 as there would not be enough time to market it. I am planning on Dec. 11. Cannot wait to see everyone.”
Ambrose, who was the director of the Coquina Beach Market for the past decade, was ousted by Manatee County officials who announced in August that the county was taking over operations of the beach market.
The Aug. 2 press release from Manatee County Information Director Bill Logan stated in part, “Artisans and other vendors will be back along the Coquina Beach South promenade, once again, when the 2022-23 season opens in November as oversight for the market shifts to Manatee County.”
Logan declined to give a reason for Ambrose’s termination and said by email on Aug. 5, “I do not have any further information why the contract was terminated.”
In October, county officials announced a delay to the projected Nov. 1 opening of the county-run market due to Hurricane Ian having impacted preparations.
“As crews have been deployed around the county to clean up and repair other parks properties, the site prep and rehab work to get the new site (further south on Coquina Beach) ready have been put on hold temporarily,” according to the county website. “The official opening date has been delayed from the originally planned Nov. 1.”
The county has not estimated its beach market opening date.
Ambrose indicated that her new Sunday market will not be on Anna Maria Island and that she would not be making any further announcements until arrangements are finalized. She also wrote that she is looking in another county for a possible Wednesday market.
Her Facebook page, “Where is the Market?” has over 2,000 members, some of whom are vendors who have worked with her and who are hopeful that they will soon have a new venue to sell their products.
Vendor Venita Clark wrote, “I think Nancy needs to have her own booth set up so everyone could stop by and give her the big hug she deserves for working so hard for all of us!