By Lauren Sellew
SOUTHINGTON — Hardcore Sweet Bakery is seeking approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals to host a flea market at Factory Square next month.
The July 17 event, if approved, would feature a wide range of small businesses, live music and food trucks, said Nicole Braddock, co-owner of Hardcore Sweet Bakery. The application for a zoning variance and a special exemption is scheduled to be considered by the Zoning Board of Appeals at a meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the municipal center.
Braddock, whose company has been in business for almost a decade, said the idea for the flea market has been “brewing forever.” The company, which has it’s first location in Watertown, opened in Factory Square on Center Street in October.
She started working on the flea market about a month ago, including a message on the company’s Instagram page. Braddock said she received over 200 submissions and as of Monday has 53 vendors, five bands and two food trucks lined up if she receives ZBA approval.
“It’s a great way to get small businesses up and collaborating together,” Braddock said. “Especially with inflation and the economy, we’re trying to get small businesses to flourish...keep supporting small businesses.”
Braddock said when she approached Florian Properties, the management company for Factory Square, they were excited. Justin French, property manager for Florian Properties, said they are excited to see the tenants collaborating.
“It seems to be taking off,” French said of Factory Square. “The building is a lot fuller now.”
ZBA chair Robert Ives said the panel will be looking at the finer details of the plan on Tuesday, including parking, other impacts on the neighborhood and operation. Ives said the plan doesn’t seem “outlandish” and if all details seem “reasonable” it should move forward on Tuesday.
Ives said he is not opposed to ideas that bring more people to Southington for activities that support local businesses. He considers his fellow commissioners “pretty reasonable” and as long as organizers comply, he wouldn’t foresee any issues.