ABOVE: Plant Street Market in Winter Garden is a larger scale version of Mount Dora Marketplace (Mount Dora Buzz photo)
It’s been a pipe dream in Mount Dora for years. This summer it will become a reality.
One of downtown’s historic buildings will soon transform into Mount Dora Marketplace, a carefully curated community market. The vacant 4,500 square-foot building, formerly home to Eduardo’s bar and restaurant, will feature a blend of independent businesses in its ground floor. The focus will be on fresh food specialties and select complementary businesses. The intimate spaces will serve as an incubator for small entrepreneurs that seek a presence in Mount Dora, but not the hefty rents that often accompany such a premium location. Plenty of indoor and outdoor seating is planned for customers to enjoy their tasty selections.
The concept has proven successful in other Central Florida cities like Winter Garden’s Plant Street Market and Orlando’s East End Market.
Mount Dora Marketplace will be anchored by The Filling Station, a casual, yet upscale, craft beer tap room and eatery. The bar will offer at least 28 craft beers on tap, plus premium wines available by the glass or by the bottle. The name is a nod to the old Texaco gas station that occupied the building many decades ago. Another space in the Marketplace will be an authentic New York-style deli complete with sandwiches made from house-baked bagels, bialys and breads.
In an effort to curate businesses that complement each other, the leasing agent, Dawn Williams, is seeking vendors that offer artisanal cheeses, fresh baked goods, smoothies, handcrafted chocolates, cured meats or other edibles, as well as small indoor plants and fresh cut flowers.
“It’s all about quality not quantity,” said Williams, a Mount Dora resident and real estate agent. “We’re not in a rush because we want to make sure we have the right businesses.” The marketplace will open at 100 E. 4th Avenue sometime this summer when all the spaces are leased and build-outs are complete.
ABOVE: The building that will be home to Mount Dora Marketplace in summer 2019 (Mount Dora Buzz photo)
The building’s owners, Michael Ross & Peter Burgess, divide their time between homes in Miami Beach and Mount Dora. The couple, along with Williams, are excited to create the modern marketplace concept in Mount Dora and anticipate the unique shopping venue will be a welcome new destination for residents and visitors.
Burgess, a commercial real estate professional and Cris-Craft boat owner, was first attracted to Mount Dora when it hosted the Antique Boat Show. Burgess and Ross fell in love with the town and purchased their home and first commercial property in Mount Dora in 2007. Years later the couple purchased the downtown building on the southwest corner of 4th Avenue and Donnelly Street where their tenants include Las Palmas Cuban Restaurant, Mount Dora Olive Oil Company and a jewelry store.
“There aren’t a lot of young entrepreneurs that can afford to open a store in downtown Mount Dora,“ said Ross of the plan for the Marketplace to function as a small business incubator. By offering these small spaces it will open doors for them.”
For the sake of consistency and ensuring a good shopping experience, Mount Dora Marketplace will have set hours for all businesses, said Ross, a retired South Florida event planner. However, the Filling Station will have extended hours.
The goal for the upstairs of the building is to create an entertainment venue that provides options not currently offered in the city, like a comedy club and other acts.
Entrepreneurs interested in applying for space at the marketplace can email Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org . Readers can stay updated on the Marketplace's opening date and vendors by signing up for the monthly Mount Dora Buzz update here.
For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, visit the area's websiteand download its free mobile app.