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Corner Brook sets new policy for vendors setting up in city hall square

Matthew Kartechner, owner of Corner Glass handmade glass art, figures the fee vendors are now charged to set up outside Corner Brook’s city hall will keep him away from now on.
Matthew Kartechner, owner of Corner Glass handmade glass art, figures the fee vendors are now charged to set up outside Corner Brook’s city hall will keep him away from now on. - Gary Kean

Matthew Kartechner figures last week marked the final time he will be setting up his table of handmade glass art at the civic square outside Corner Brook’s city hall.
Selling handmade glass – under the business name Corner Glass – is a livelihood for the former Ontario resident. However,  a new city policy now in effect may force him to move away from the temporary marketplace set up on days when cruise ships are visiting Corner Brook.
Until recently, people could set up and sell crafts at the square, as they wished, for free.
At its July 16 public meeting city council approved implementing a formal process and fee structure for anyone wanting to sell their goods in the civic square area.
Under the new policy, vendors must fill out an application, pay a $20 fee and be assigned a space to set up.
Kartechner paid his fee for the recent visit by the cruise ship AIDAvita, which has a capacity for nearly 1,700 passengers and crew. At the halfway point of the day, he had earned just $25.
“Honestly, I don’t make enough money coming out here,” he said. “If I make $100, to have to give somebody $20 is not worth it.”
The money Kartechner takes in has to cover the cost of materials he needs to produce the sculptures, jewelry and shot glasses he sells.
“I’ll probably not be down here any more,” he said. “I’ll just stick to the craft fairs and art shows.”
The city adopted the policy so vendors in the civic square could be better organized.
Mayor Jim Parsons said charging a fee also levels the playing field for established local businesses that have to pay a business tax in order to operate in the city.
In the past, the mayor added, there have even been squabbles between vendors wanting to set up in the same space, so this policy should prevent that from happening again.
A vendor would have to pay a $25 fee to set up elsewhere in the city, noted Parsons, so those wanting to use the civic square are actually getting a bit of a break.

Lynne and Paul Ross think it’s great the City of Corner Brook is formally organizing vendors who want to set up shop outside city hall during cruise ship visits.
Lynne and Paul Ross think it’s great the City of Corner Brook is formally organizing vendors who want to set up shop outside city hall during cruise ship visits.


The recent visit by the AIDAvita marked the second time Lynne and Paul Ross were selling their wood-turned creations at the square. They welcome having a more structured environment for vendors during cruise ship visits and don’t mind having to absorb an extra cost to be allowed to set up shop in the square.
“I have no problem with that whatsoever,” said Lynne. “You have to pay a week in advance. If something happens and you didn’t show up, its $20. It’s not life altering for us.”
She said it doesn’t matter where she and her husband are set up in the square, especially given there is still room for many more vendors to set up.
“I think all of us are ambassadors of the city and of the province,” she said. “I think formally organizing vendors at this space just speaks well of a growing community and an awareness of the arts.”

Organizing the vendors at civic square:


- The civic square outside of Corner Brook’s city hall makes 15 spaces available to vendors on cruise ship visit days.
- Each space measures eight feet wide and can accommodate six-foot long tables.
- It is possible for a vendor to pay an additional fee to book a double space or to have an oversized table.
- It has been suggested the additional revenue generated through this initiative be used to continually improve tourism operations relating to cruise ship visits.
Source: City of Corner Brook

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