Zern's Farmer's Market
Zern's Farmers Market is a year-round farmers' market located in Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania. (The official website spells both "Zern's" and "Farmer's" both with and without an apostrophe.) It sits along Philadelphia Avenue (Pennsylvania Route 73) near Bartman Avenue, close to Pennsylvania Route 100. Two buildings are located on the property: a lowercase "t" shaped main building and an "L" shaped (and smaller) enclosed flea market building. When weather permits, outdoor vending areas are set up in the space between the edifices in an area known affectionately as "the Midway". The "main" building is heated during winter, and utilizes a fan-circulation and heat extraction system during the warmer months of the year.
The market sells a variety of items, including toys, collectibles, pets, clothing, electronics, produce, and prepared food -- much of which includes noticeable Pennsylvania Dutch influences. The facility also houses two full-service butcher shops, a delicatessen, a barber shop, two bakeries, a specialty spice shop, and a fresh poultry vendor. It is a common gathering location for residents in the area. To date, Auntie Anne's Pretzels is the market's sole chain vendor.
Weekly live auctions are held in the main building, and an ongoing "silent auction" can be found in the flea market building. Other specialty events that occur include automobile shows and local wrestling federation matches. The market is normally open on Fridays and Saturdays only, although holiday hours vary.
William Zern (1883 - 1978) started Zern's, also known as "The Sale," in 1922. The small family farm auction was soon joined by neighbors and townsfolk and before long a Gilbertsville landmark was born. During the early days, livestock was auctioned in the large lower barn. The auction grew and pulled in numerous vendors of widely varying merchandise. In 1966, tragedy struck as fire broke out and turned Zern's into a pile of burnt remains. Within days there was a groundbreaking for the new building, and Zern's has stood tall since. There are currently over 200 vendors and stands.
Philadelphia Magazine once voted Zern's "Best Of Philly."
Zern's - Affected by the economy
When the economic downturn began in December of 2007, stands at Zern's became increasingly vacant. The effects of the economy were compounded by the fact that two new shopping centers, both featuring grocery stores and restaurants opened within 2 miles (in either direction, on Route 100) of the market.