LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It's another sign of life slowly getting back to normal! The River Market's Ottenheimer Market Hall will welcome people back inside at the beginning of May.
These doors have been locked since April of last year and now with them opening back up, in just under a month, River Market Director of Operations Diana Long said it is bringing a lot of life back.
"I really feel like it's sort of a beacon of hope," she said.
It's been over 12 months since the Ottenheimer Market Hall had hustle-bustle during the lunch hour, according to Long.
"When the whole world shut down and people started working from home, there was just not enough business to support all of those vendors in there," she said.
Turning the lights off meant business owners, like Angia Cox, had to figure out a plan B.
"We're operating from a food truck now to kind of keep things going and that's worked out pretty well for us," she said.
Cox's restaurant, Platnum BBQ, operated only from the Market Hall since 2017. She said loyal customers kept her going during the shutdown.
But knowing she can serve her brisket and mac and cheese back where she calls home is the stability Cox needed.
"Overwhelmed with joy because things can kind of go a little bit back to normal," she said.
With spring in the air, cases going down, and vaccinations up, Long said a May re-opening is the perfect time.
"I've been watching that traffic build a little bit over the last couple of months, so I think that it's very promising," she said.
Things will be a little different though. Hours will be cut short from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and not every vendor will be coming back.
Long said they are going to repurpose those spaces and turn them into seating pods.
"The footprint of where people can sit and eat will be expanded a little bit, so I think it'll feel more spacious," she said.
The Market Hall is set to reopen on May 1, along with the opening of the 2021 Farmer's Market season and the celebration of 501 Day.