LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Bob Corbin cares and loves Wabash Avenue, one of Lafayette’s oldest communities.
You can see that love in the smile that appears on his face every time he talks about Wabash Avenue.
In recent years, community members have banded together to revitalize the neighborhood by opening businesses along the avenue and creating giant murals on the walls of buildings along the street.
Recently, Corbin wondered how he could give back to the community he loves.
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That’s when he considered reopening his indoor farmer’s market-style store, Corbin’s Corner Market at 525 Wabash Ave., which closed in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Instead of focusing on transforming a farmer’s market, Corbin wanted to do more for the community by focusing half of his business on local vendors.
“I want to bring in local merchandise and provide opportunities for local vendors,” Corbin said. “I want to provide good, healthy alternatives to the high fructose corn syrup world we live in. But really, what I want is when people come here, I want them to have a positive experience. beyond the fact that it is a place of merchandising.
In order to distinguish this new store from its old market, Corbin decided to rename the store The Avenue Market, to emphasize the store’s new mission.
Corbin wanted to give local vendors a place where they could reliably sell their wares to customers without having to go door-to-door.
RJ Honey, Jason Wells Band coffee brand, Windship Mills hand soap, and FatBoy Customs woodwork are a few local vendors Corbin currently hosts.
“We’re looking to help people with their hustle and make it something they’re passionate about instead of going to their 9-to-5 where they need to go,” Corbin said.
“That’s the kind of stuff we want to do. We want to reward people for being good people.
Corbin didn’t give up on his dream of opening an indoor farmer’s market on Wabash Avenue.
“Ultimately, what we want to do is make it a farmers’ market 365 days a year. That’s really what we’re trying to do.
“So if it’s minus 10 (degrees) outside and there’s 12 inches of snow on the ground, you can still come in and have that springtime, farmer’s market feel.
“We are planning to do Farmers Markets here this summer with Bloomer’s Greenhouse and Dean Fallis. He’s been doing it for over 50 years. He was actually Joe Rumpza, who started the Lafayette Farmer’s Market. He was his protege. So Dean is as good as he can be,” he said.
As of now, Corbin plans to hold his grand opening for Avenue Market in early July, but for anyone interested in visiting the store early, Corbin’s Corner Market is open as a way to test the waters.
But beyond the store, Corbin’s true aspiration is to showcase Wabash Avenue. He wants to give the people of Lafayette a reason to visit the community.
“We want Wabash Avenue to become the neighborhood people want to visit, if not move.”
Noe Padilla is a journalist at Journal & Courier. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at 1NoePadilla.