The Green Dragon Market in Ephrata is open once again. The market closed after a devastating fire two weeks ago gutted the main building and several smaller ones. Luckily the fire missed many of the stands and the market was able to reopen, after being closed last Friday.
George Retherford has worked at his family's stand at Green Dragon for as long as he can remember. "My dad has been here 58 years, I've been here 45," said Retherford. Together they run Melon Man Produce. Like many of the stands that were not affected by the fire, they reopened Friday. "It's definitely nice to be back," said Retherford.
The popular farmer's market is only open on Fridays, but in just one day his stand can make anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000. "It's not like a regular job. We get a lot of income in one day. Plus we're closed three months out of the year. It hurts," said Retherford. He's hoping the excitement of being reopen attracts more visitors.
And so far so good.
"We’re elated! Beautiful day, a lot of curious people, and it looks like a lot of shoppers and buyers," said Rob Rohrbach, who owns Green Dragon Market.
But Green Dragon Market is not completely back to normal. The center of the market, where the main building once stood, is surrounded by yellow caution tape. The building burned to the ground. The ash and debris have been cleaned up and Rohrbach says they plan to rebuild. "We're going to put a building in there, pretty much the same size, maybe a little bit smaller," said Rohrbach. "We hope to get started on it with the next month."
Stands affected by the fire will return once the new building is built.