by Paula M. Riley

The Market at the Fareway (formerly the Chestnut Hill Farmers Market) is in the middle of a transformation. After completely renovating the Chestnut Hill Hotel, owners Ron and Abbey Pete are focusing on the market and its surrounding courtyard.

The market is getting a face lift by James Morrisey Designs, adding new vendors, reconfiguring the parking lot and creating the Fareway, a community gathering space between the hotel and Market buildings.

In an effort to invite shoppers to the market, introduce new vendors and enhance the holiday experience, Sundays@Market Artisan Marketplace will be held on Dec. 9,, 16 and 23, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. These events will showcase local artisans and gourmet food vendors. With displays held in the open booth areas and Market aisles, vendors will offer wonderful holiday gifts but much more.

“We created a marketplace where locals can find innovative and handcrafted products and support local merchants too,” said Ron Pete.

Among merchants who will be at the market:

Urbane Tea Company carries loose teas that will not be found in traditional English tea rooms. Loose teas are sold in 2 oz. bags (delivering 15 servings), as well as sample sets of five. The 2-ounce bags, Watson explained, are just enough to let customers get to know the tea.

“I want to make tea accessible to everybody,” Watson said. “We have items for the purist and for anybody to try, enjoy and love.”

Dom Dellose, of A’Dello Vineyard & Winery, has the same idea.

“We just want people to come out and try our wines – they will love them,” he said.

Like Urbane Tea Company, A’Dello Winery will be leasing a stall at the market in 2013 and is excited for locals to preview its wines. Based in Perkiomenville, A’Dello uses only local grapes for its 15 different types of wines, most of which are on the drier side.

Handcrafted merchandise from Oscar’s Alley complements A’Dello wine at the holiday table. Marnie Cullen has a wonderful collection of holiday accents for the home, including paper lilies and amaryllis plants in silver pots or succulents in containers wrapped in zinc accented with silver balls.

Oscar’s Alley brings a modern approach to traditional holiday décor. A white birch peace sign wreath, a green square boxwood wreath, gingerbread houses, gingerbread train set and a centerpiece made from chopped cherry tree branches illustrate its organic, fun and creative pieces.

“I work with customers to help them set up their tables in a creative and cost-effective way,” said Cullen.

Virginia Bluebell Couture came because the owner really enjoyed being a customer at the market in the past. Owner Kelli Zidek designs and crafts handbags, totes and wristlets made from a variety fabrics including cotton, corduroy, and suede.

Other Sundays@Market vendors include Philadelphia Salvage, Picked Vintage, Payton Woodcraft, Zsas Ice Cream, Trillium Fiddlehead Designs, In With the Old, Baby Be Hip, The Pillow Works, Joey Five Cents, Write Time Stationery, Sciascia Confections and Eastcote Lane.

The visual story of the re-imagined market and community space has been in Morrisey Designs’ project since June.

“We came up with choices (for tenants) based on a specific vision of a modern general store,” said Morrisey.

Using humble products such as chalkboard, corrugated metal, reclaimed wood and concrete, and combining them in a modern way, creates a fresh, interesting blend of industrial and vintage where each stall is unique to the tenant’s purpose, yet harmonious with the market.

Morrisey wanted to create a cool, SoHo-like market while embracing the community experience that defines Chestnut Hill. The Fareway will break ground early next year.

“Ultimately,” said Ron Pete, “We want to activate this space and have it become a destination.”