By Sean Yoes, Baltimore AFRO Editor, [email protected]
A viral video of a rat rollicking through a display case of tasty treats at a Lexington Market bakery in July compelled management at the historic market to shut down temporarily.
Lexington Market reopened, however since that rat video went viral, sales at Lexington have plummeted, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun.
When the market closed July it released the following statement, “The management team for Lexington Market has made the voluntary decision to close the entire Market today at 11:30 am so that all parts of the Market can easily be evaluated after our recent incident. We are proactively making this decision to expedite our work with the Health Department, our merchants, our staff, and our pest control company. This will enable us to take every necessary step to ensure that we are providing the best possible experience for our customers.”
Sales have allegedly dipped on average about 50 percent since the video of the rat trampling pastries at the Buttercup bakery. Longtime merchants of the city-owned market, which dates back to 1782, say the problem isn’t the rat video, but a series of broken promises on much needed repairs and renovations by city officials.
“The rat incident was, as I see it, just the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Larry Brenner, owner of Konstant’s, a collection of stalls at the market since 2008, told the Sun.
Brenner and other owners say an erratic air conditioning system, which forced Lexington to close during a brutal heat wave in July, among other issues indicate the city is unwilling to invest in the struggling market.
“We haven’t done anything to make this place better, we haven’t done anything to make it relevant. The management never did execute on their redevelopment plan,” Brenner said.
According to the Sun, Lexington Market attracted almost three million (about 2.8 million) visitors in 2007. But, that number dropped to about 2.2 million in 2014. Since the rat incident in July, patrons are significantly more sparse.
“Will it come back, I don’t know,” said Brenner. “Will we live long enough to see it come back, I doubt it.”