One-stop shopping at Dutchess Marketplace
By Elizabeth Bengel
Quite some time has passed since the Dutchess Mall drew this kind of traffic on a Sunday afternoon. The attraction: the return of a flea market to 453 Route 9 in Fishkill – this time an indoor venture, occupying the 100,000 square feet of space formerly used by Jamesway department store.
Open Saturdays and Sundays, Dutchess Marketplace is a growing enterprise, with new vendors and bigger crowds surfacing each weekend. This Saturday marks the fourth weekend the Marketplace has been open to patrons. According to vendor Jill DeCrenza, a Dec. 14 snowstorm may have detracted from opening weekend, resulting in fewer visitors than anticipated; however, “[there’s been] a steady increase … word just needs to get out.” DeCrenza’s stand features unique jewelry, including necklaces made from bullet and shotgun shells and copper and brass charm rings, handmade by Jill D Designs.
Its mishmash of discount goods makes the Marketplace a hybrid shopping destination for a range of customers and their diverse needs, a la Walmart or Sam’s Club. There are booths offering just about anything, from medical scrubs to $1 paperback books and records to Avon makeup products. Action figures, art supplies and kitchenware hang from the walls, while bins of socks, belts and other accessories rest on the floor.
Bear Mountain Coffee Roasters, Hudson Valley Linens and Honeybrook Farms are among the local vendors that can be accessed every weekend. An array of additional cuisine includes Cheesecake Heaven; fresh Mexican; homemade Belgian waffles; Luigi’s infused olive oils, mozzarella, soppressata and pasta; and Senza Gluten, specializing in gluten-free delicacies, among others. Joseph D’esposito estimates about 200 vendors occupied the Marketplace in its third weekend – half the number of what it’s able to accommodate.
D’esposito’s kettle corn, made popular at local fairs and the Beacon Strawberry Festival, is cooked at his house and brought to the market each weekend. When spring arrives, he hopes to make the snack on-site, with help from his son and fellow business partner. D’esposito also mentioned the possibility of a car show that will take place outdoors, weather permitting.
Kathleen Caporrio of KZ’s Gift Shop is “very happy” with the progress she’s seen in the short period of time the Marketplace has been open. “I had a store and relocated … traffic here is great,” she said. Caporrio’s booth features seasonal, custom design decorations, including fiber optic Christmas trees and wreaths, animal print bags and delicate pixie dolls. To her fellow vendors, she offers this piece of advice: “It’s all how you present … the store has to look good if you want it to be successful.”
Perhaps most popular, based on word-of-mouth, is Gary’s Pickles stand, where one can taste “any two pickles for a dollar.” The man behind the booth, Barry, uses his own recipe to make the bread and butter, half sour and hot and spicy pickles – the three most popular options for sale. Twenty-eight years old, Gary’s Pickles has been selected “best pickles in the Hudson Valley,” according to its Facebook page, and, says Barry, is very popular among the youth: “Kids grow up on our pickles … they come home from college demanding more!”