Gene and Market

May 23, 2018

Upon reading our most recent post, you may remember that Mayor Sorace connected us with Gene Shaw, a kind gentleman enjoying a hot dog lunch at a table along the south side of the Market House. The table where he sat is one that he created, and the Market House in which it lives is one that he enthusiastically loves.

“It’s an awfully special place,” Gene said, smiling in the sunlight.

Gene reminisced of his early fresh food market days, when he went to art school around the corner from Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. And he fondly remembered Eddie the Green Grocer, who would clip all the greens off the Society Hill ladies’ beets and save them just for him.

He continued, “My love of Market started in Philadelphia, and when I found this when I moved here 34 years ago, it became a regular thing. I loved it.”

Even now, Gene visits Market each week to buy his food from people he knows. Likening it to his time as a general contractor years ago, and the relationships he built with his subcontractors, he shared, “They weren’t just subcontractors; they were friends, as well. Market is just an extension of that idea.”

In addition to being able to visit with friends like Ammon at Stoltzfus Fresh Meats or Sam at Kauffman’s Fruit Farm, he is deeply proud to be able to shop locally and support Lancaster businesses. Part of his inspiration for such can be found in his story of Martin Shreiner, a renowned clockmaker who, at 66, stopped making clocks and began making Philadelphia-style fire engines when the need in Lancaster arose. Gene said of Mr. Shreiner and buying locally, “I look up to him. He got the contract, because in 1830, there was a movement in the City of Lancaster to buy local. So, it’s not just a 25-year thing; it’s an almost-150-year thing.”

And then few years ago when the Central Market Trust asked Gene to submit a design for tables and chairs inside Market, he jumped at the chance to create local pieces for his beloved Market. Out of three submissions, his unique design was chosen to be brought to life. Of the finished product, he said, “I made the tops; the wood is from an Amish fellow up by Terre Hill who saws it and dries it; the finisher is over in Bird-in-Hand; and the welder who did the bases and the powder coating is in Ephrata. And the wood is basically local, too; this is Poplar.”

So, the next time you find yourself sitting in the sunlight at one of the tables along the south side of the Market House, take a moment to think about Gene and what he meant when he said, “Market is as much social as it is anything. It’s so pleasant.” For him, Market is about knowing and supporting the people who’ve come to be his friends. What is Market about for you?

Up next, we have Feizal Fakier from Pure Palate Organic. Until then, Market friends, keep it fresh!