By Alexandra Simon
It’s back on at the market!
Island-culture lovers from near and far trekked to Flatbush last weekend to celebrate the grand reopening of a beloved Caribbean marketplace, thrilling sellers excited to set up shop inside the new, temporary space after vacating the old location last summer.
“My first customer on Saturday was from out of state, and I was very happy,” said Selwyn Branker, who hawks flags at his shop Flagathon. “I like the location — it’s convenient, cleaner, and brighter.”
Hundreds of shoppers toasted the return of Flatbush Caton Market at Friday and Saturday events in its new Clarendon Road home, where it will remain until builders finish constructing its new permanent digs at the bottom of an in-development residential high-rise on the market’s former site.
And Branker said he expects even more patrons to visit as word of the re-opening spreads ahead of a popular time at the bazaar.
“I think a lot more people will start coming next month, because we’re the only market that caters to the needs of Black History Month,” he said.
The marketplace — which debuted in 2000 as an outdoor marketplace before moving to its old indoor location in 2002 — boasts a bigger lounging area in its short-term spot, as well as a new juice bar and a revamped coffee-and-pastry shop, according to a spokeswoman.
And all but two of its former vendors returned to peddle their products, which Branker hopes will draw a steady clientele now that the bazaar is back in business.
“We have vendors from various islands, so there’s a whole mixture,” he said. “We’d like the community to come and support us year-round.”
Flatbush Caton Market (2184 Clarendon Rd. between Flatbush Avenue and E. 23rd Street in Flatbush). Mon–Sat, 10 am–8 pm