The Wall Street Exchange
Gone but not forgotten, community members continue to rally behind the Really Really Free Market cause.
Business owners Maria Allen of Maria’s Tacqueria and Lillian Potter-Saum of the Local Source, held the “Wall Street Exchange,” demonstration last weekend as a “show of support” for the recently evicted monthly event.
In April, the Really Really Free Market – an event held monthly to exchange free personal items, such as books, clothing, furniture, collectables and housewares, was indefinitely canceled when Shepherd University officials told market organizers they could no longer convene on the McMurran Hall lawn and wall.
Outfitted with petitions and free goods of their own, Allen and Potter-Saum took to that same location Sunday, ready to raise issue with the McMurran Hall Board of Trustees, who initiated Shepherd University’s recent decision regarding the market.
“We fail to understand why McMurran Trustees have an issue with the Really Really Free Market,” Potter-Saum said.
“At the heart of everything, this wall belongs to the community and should be used by the community,” she said.
Potter-Saum said she thinks “the wall” is the most appropriate venue for the market, as it provides the visibility that the free market concept requires in order to thrive.
“The free market is a national movement… They need to be in central locations to work,” she said.
Visitors and supporters stopped by Sunday’s protest, many of whom were unaware that the actual event was in jeopardy.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Tony Pierce, a Shepherdstown resident who stopped at the wall Sunday after a stop at the local farmer’s market.
“It’s a wonderful chance to build community,” he said.
Allen said the protest was organized in part to demonstrate business support for the Really Really Free Market.
“Our busiest days during the summer are free market days,” she said.
According to Robert Glenn, one of the organizers of the Really Really Free Market, 15 businesses have signed the petition to keep the free market on the wall, including Tony’s Pizza, China Kitchen, Mellow Moods and Blue Moon Cafe, among others.
Though Glenn nor any of the RRFM organizers were involved in Sunday’s demonstration, he did offer an update on his own effort to keep the Really Really Free Market at the center of town.
“Right now the organizers are working on putting together a packet to present to Shepherd University officials. That is where were at right now.” he said.
Bill Knode, member of the three-person McMurran Hall Board of Trustees, said that the board itself has no plans to meet with either Sunday’s demonstrators or the organizers of the RRFM.
Knode said the board supports community use of the wall, but faced complaints from businesses and visitors about the Really Really Free Market and saw it as an obstruction to those trying to enter and exit the historic McMurran/Reynolds Hall building.
“There’s a place in the community for that market,” he said, “But it is not at the college wall.”