Arizona Market Place reopens with happy vendors
Case vs. former owner moving in courts
Putting the strife involving the former owner and a foreclosure behind it, the Arizona Market Place has reopened for the winter season under new ownership with delighted vendors and improvements to the property.
“It's very good to have the negative stuff behind us,” said Scott Awar, who took over ownership through his entity AZMKT LLC in mid-July after two auction sales.
“The vendors were dancing in the parking lot,” he recalled.
Several of them had related stories of turmoil over the last three years under the ownership of Dan Dinwiddie. That included his collecting thousands of dollars in deposits from vendors for the 2012-13 season even though he had been making plans to close down the market.
Dinwiddie was arrested in May and charged with one count of fraudulent schemes and artifices and one count of theft. He currently is out of custody on bond.
No trial date has been set yet, according to Detective Eric Fell of the Yuma Police Department.
Dinwiddie's next court appearance will be a status hearing on Nov. 14 before Yuma County Superior Court Judge David Hawes. The case has been classified a “complex case,” allowing for an extended time frame for the prosecution to prepare it for trial, Fell explained.
According to court documents, Dinwiddie collected more than $85,000 last spring even though he had informed the city of his intention to shut down the market place. Currently the case includes 20 boxes of business records. More than 90 witnesses are expected to be called for the trial.
For now, though, Awar, his staff and vendors would rather focus on the winter season for the market place and provide a good experience for the anticipated 4,000 to 5,000 customers who come through the gate daily for much of the winter.
“As promised, it will be better than ever,” Awar said, adding that he has responded to the most frequent complaints from customers about changes Dinwiddie had made.
Awar said the parking lot has been restored to its original location and size, and the kiosks have been removed so aisles are wider to allow for handicapped carts. The food court has been completely revamped and now has the city's blessing — it will have three “mini” restaurants serving hamburgers, hot dogs, Mexican food and chicken teriyaki bowls. There's also an ice cream shop and caramel corn.
And the admission fee has been revised. Through December, admission is free; for the remainder of the season in 2013, admission will be 50 cents Fridays and Saturdays only.
And dogs, restrained on leases or in pet strollers, are welcome.
The outdoor mall, located at 3351 W. Avenue 4E, will have a grand opening Thursday at 11 a.m., with food and drink specials and entertainment that will begin at 11:45 a.m. with country band White Horse as the opening act.
The market place will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays through April with daily entertainment. For more information, call 328-1088.
Joyce Lobeck can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6853. Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YSJoyceLobeck or on Twitter at @YSJoyceLobeck.