NORWALK, Conn. - Norwalk's newly-opened SoNo Marketplace is a large-scale shopping center with a country feel. The market features more than 45 local eateries and merchants selling art, jewelry, clothing, food, furniture and more.
"It's like a mall with heart and soul," said Liz Machette of Refabulous Furnishings. Machette sells furniture and other items that have been restored or re-purposed, such as chandeliers made of teacups or candle holders from old shot glasses.
"I love the energy all of us have together here. The vendors are so proud of what they have."
Owner Joe Grasso partnered with restaurateur John Palino to create the market, which opened in the beginning of December. Grasso said that 2,800 people walked through in the first weekend, and that word is continuing to spread.
"The entire community's thrilled to have something like this that's very unique and unlike anything around," said Grasso.
There will be a farmers market outside in the spring, featuring more than 25 vendors, as well as long-table dinner events, charity events and more food shops opening up. Pop-up stores will set up shop for small stays, and Grasso said they may try to bring in comedians or live musicians.
"We've had a lot of good feedback," said Thanya Phanpinyo, owner of Yui Market. The shop specializes in Asian teas and spices. "After a month we've already got people coming back. I think it's going great."
"It's nice. You can come, dine, shop, walk around. There seems to be a lot of curiosity," said Dana Assard of Percy Thomson Meadows. The meats at Percy Thomson do not have any chemicals in them and come from animals that are raised outside, feeding on grass and hay.
Janet Falkenthal of Fashion Exchange already owned two ladies' consignment shops in Danbury and Newtown when she heard about SoNo Marketplace
"I love it, I think it's going to be very successful," she said. "I thought it sounded interesting and I wanted to be a part of it. I have great hopes for the market, and I think more and more people are going to come in and enjoy it."
SoNo Marketplace is located at 314 Wilson Ave. and is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.