‘Believe Marketplace’ offers businesses outdoor option

Delmarva Veteran Builders owner Chris Eccleston found himself with a 1,600-square-foot tented pavilion purchased for a project that fell through because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With no immediate use for it, he offered it to Peninsula Regional Medical Center and then to the city of Salisbury for its temporary homeless camp called Camp Hope, but neither the hospital or the city needed it.

“I said nobody wants this thing, I guess I’ll just set it up myself,” he said.

Chris Eccleston.

The tent, now erected in the Delmarva Veteran Builders parking lot and named “Believe Marketplace,” is available free of charge to local businesses and nonprofits that want to operate outdoors, which is considered safer in the era of social distancing than enclosed spaces.

So far, it has been used by the Greater Salisbury Committee for an Executive Committee meeting and by the board of a local nonprofit. Operation We Care held a packing party in the tent.

Eccleston said he has had inquiries from artisans as well as a gym owner who is interested in offering outdoor classes.

“I think we’re starting to gain some traction with it,” he said.

The outdoor marketplace is designed to provide the support for businesses to reach customers, while adhering to public health and safety guidelines. Eccleston said he will provide hand sanitizing stations as well as mark 7-foot social distancing marks on the pavement. 

The next frontline in the fight against Covid-19 is supporting small businesses and building consumer confidence in a safe alternative to the traditional indoor brick and mortar locations, Eccleston said.

Believe Marketplace is being offered for a period of 30 days as a start and depending on community interest.

“We believe we need a statement Downtown to help rebuild consumer confidence within the community and we are proud to be leading the charge for small businesses,” he said.

Delmarva Veteran Builders is located at 120 East Market St. in Salisbury.

To reserve a space in the tent, email Eccleston at Chris@delmarvaveteranbuilders.com.

Delmarva Veteran Builders is the region’s only commercial construction firm dedicated to bringing employment to U.S. armed forces veterans. It was launched in 2013 by Eccleston, a U.S. Navy veteran.

As your community newspaper, we are committed to making Salisbury a better place. You can help support our mission by making a voluntary contribution to the newspaper.