After 10 years, the French Market at is no more, but the village is hoping a group of Front Street merchants can keep a market running in Mokena.
"We now know what the French Market was like and now, as I understand it, we'll have a chance to see what something else is like," Mayor Joe Werner said during Monday's village board meeting.
During the meeting, the board discussed whether to extend the contract with Bensidoun Inc. to run the French Market. The 10-year contract expires this spring.
. But after an often-heated, two-hour debate decided to table the measure until the next meeting to give a chance for more public comment.
This week, the board seemingly agreed, unanimously voting against the French Market contract.
"I don't think anyone expected it to go this way," said one of the Front Street merchants, Tony Dina of .
Werner said the merchants were the first and only option considered after Bensidoun.
"At this time I think everyone would agree that since this is on Front Street and their businesses are there, they should have first shot at it," Werner said.
Trustee John Mazzorana said the businesses should set up a market quickly so as not to lose merchants who might otherwise go elsewhere.
"It's like when you close a restaurant and then re-open it," Mazzorana said. "Sometimes you get the customers back. Sometimes you don't."
The French Market typically ran from May to October, so if the merchants' market will stick to that schedule, they have just over a month to organize.
"Because of the time crunch because of the time frame, there's going to be a lot of trial and error," said one of the merchants, Tony Dina of Dina's Barber Shop.
The 10-year contract has a three-year non-compete clause, meaning the village can't hold any market in the Metra lot until 2015.
The merchants said they plan to hold their market on Front Street, shutting down the road between the two Metra lot entrances.