LAKE PLACID — Ever since Ken LeBlanc purchased the Journal Plaza from the former Lake Placid Journal newspaper company in downtown Lake Placid the plaza has been teaming with business. It is especially busy during the Saturday Farmers Market from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
Six years ago LeBlanc renovated the building. Today it is home to The Blueberry Patch, Morty & Edna’s Restaurant and the Wet Dog Brewery.
A white wall at the plaza served as a movie screen and folks could bring a lounge chair and enjoy a Friday night Movie. That is on hold for a bit until there is a vaccine for COVID-19.
LeBlanc announced that soon there will be five more shops added to the complex. “We plan an ethnic restaurant, and ice cream parlor, a bakery and a distillery featuring homemade spirits,” he said.
You might call LeBlanc a self-made entrepreneur as well as a mover and shaker. Since moving to Lake Placid in 2005 he has done his part in making Lake Placid come alive.
Another project in the works is north of the downtown’s Stuart Park. There LeBlanc plans to build a “Pocket Neighborhood,” It will consist of seven homes circled within a common center gathering area. Home prices will range from $200,000 to $250,000. “We will soon demolish two older homes in the area,” said LeBlanc. The homes will allow the residents an easy walk to the many Journal Plaza and downtown establishments.
The Farmers Market in the plaza opened for seasonal business in November and will run thru April. A spot to sell your wares cost $20 a Saturday and $80 for the month.
Besides the many vendors the market draws folks to The Blueberry Patch, Wet Dog Brewery which opens at noon and breakfast at Morty & Edna’s. Dustin and Ansley Wood enjoy breakfast on the patio almost every Saturday. They bring their dog with them as well. “I am a preacher at Grace Bible Church in Sebring, so I named our dog Reverend,” said Dustin.
A Saturday regular is John McCracken from McCracken Farms on the north side of Sebring. His booth offers the freshest vegetables.
A first-year vendor is William Smith. His wife Lisa grows orchids at their home. “Helping my wife’s business is my retirement hobby,” he said. Her orchids sell for a bargain at between $20 and $30.
Marily Barragan has sold her healthy fruit cups at the market for two seasons. Maria Delano has been offering her Trely Sourdough bread there for two seasons too. Both items make your mouth water!
Taylor Wilkes owns Imagine This, where she hand creates unique dolls made from fabrics she finds at thrift shops. She also brings her partner Patrick Essex’s honey. It sells for $6 for 8 ounces. “We also home deliver in Placid Lakes. Call me at 863-441-0179 and I’ll deliver to your door.
Norm Zintz, straight from New York, sells hot dogs with the works. “I am known as the hot dog man of Western New York. I found a cart for sale here, bought it and here I am every Saturday cooking up a real New York dogs for my fellow vendors and guests.”
While enjoying a hot dog, a scrabbled egg breakfast or a cool brew at noon, you can listen to the mellow keyboard music of David Mains. Mains also can be found once a month on a Thursday night at the Placid Lakes Country Club Restaurant. “I offer a ‘select along’ list of music. Guests can shout out their choice and I play it for them. It’s Easy Listening.”
Terezia Boehme’s booth is called “Teri’s Passion.” She migrated from Hungry and brought with her cookie recipes, European sweets and artisan pasta. She’ll happily offer you a sample treat of a Hungarian cookie, knowing that with one bite you’ll buy a bag full.
There is jewelry, and sports banners booths too. Each week you will find a new vendor taking advantage of the nice morning crowd at the Journal Plaza.
Top the morning off with a short walk south on Main Street to visit the Depot Museum, telling the story of Lake Placid and the surrounding area through its many historical displays. It’s worth a small donation of two bucks.
Lake Placid may be small, but there is so much to see, so much to do and so much good stuff at the Farmers Market at the Journal Plaza at 231 N. Main Street. If you have interest in becoming a vendor call 863-440-7657 for information. If you are looking for unique Christmas gifts or just plain hungry for good grub or a craft brew, stop by Saturday mornings.