For three months, Sally Barker and Meaghan Glenn helped scrub, paint and powerwash a neglected car lot near Welborn Floral Company on Fourth Street in downtown Owensboro.
The staff they hired to navigate this renovation project questioned why they were cleaning a place that used to be coated in oil and grease.
“They couldn’t figure out why we’d go through all the trouble,” Glenn said. “They thought ‘this is junk.’”
But Glenn and Barker knew the space could be transformed into something fresh and new: Market03.
Market03 will soon become Owensboro’s first open-air rental arena, adjoined with the recently (mostly) completed garage-turned-chic indoor bar and event space.
“It’s different than anything we have in Owensboro,” said Glenn, who will operate as the venue’s manager.
The project began with Barker, Welborn Floral Company’s event designer, who was tired of looking at a dirty, abandoned lot next to the florist.
Barker tracked down the owner, bought the property and began the extensive cleanup process in August. Shortly afterwards, she decided to host a Christmas-themed market on the lot.
“That led us to brainstorm on how we could utilize it more,” Barker said. “The community needed an open-air venue for rentals.”
Glenn offered ideas. While most people saw a parking lot, two garages and an office, Glenn imagined future parties with a loosely Texaco gas station aesthetic.
They painted pinstripes, stars and bold block font in red, black and white. Inside, they added a bar, chandeliers and string lights — and left the aged brick, exposed black steel and vintage car paintings.
“There was no changing what it was, so we decided to embrace it and go full vintage car theme,” Glenn said.
Market03 could house birthdays, engagement parties, bridal showers or even wreath-making workshops. During summer months, the garage doors can remain open for an unconfined, chill vibe.
“It can be casual or upscale,” Glenn said, adding that they tested the glamour potential of the space with an outdoor wedding in October. “We just really want to get people out in the space.”
Glenn also envisions hosting a market day each month for Owensboro’s abundant artists, “kind of like a farmers market but with crafted items,” Glenn explained.
To finalize Market03 and boost its potential, the duo will add a 40-foot by 100-foot permanent, clear Navi-Trac tent with a 300-person capacity.
Barker and Glenn tentatively scheduled a grand opening for late March.
“We’re really excited about what this space could be,” Glenn said.
Market03 will be launching a website and social media in coming months.
“The pandemic was an influence,” Glenn said. “We knew if there was any good time to do this it’s now.”