The INDsider has just learned that Jefferson Street Market will shut its doors for good in a few weeks. After more than 13 years as a retail anchor and a symbol of renewal for downtown Lafayette, the eclectic business is being shuttered by owners Rob and Catherine Robison; vendors who lease space in the market as well as employees were notified Monday of the decision. Rob Robison tells the INDsider the market will stay open probably no longer than the end of March.

“My feeling really is that we’ve been holding out for a long time for more development — better things to come — and I don’t have to close it, but I just don’t really see anything on the horizon in the foreseeable future,” Robison says. “It’s a retail business, and we’ve been doing it for 13 years, and I really kind of want to go out on top if we’ve got to go out.”

The Robisons opened Jefferson Street Market in 1996 as StreetScape transformed downtown’s main thoroughfare. Supporters of the historic district envisioned a vibrant downtown Lafayette featuring a dynamic mixture of retail and residential spaces to complement the area’s government and financial footprint. And while much of that vision has come to pass — downtown Lafayette has a bustle and swagger it didn’t have 20 years ago — the residential component has yet to materialize. “From a retail standpoint,” Robison adds, “without having a built-in residential base, I’ve found myself in a position of really importing my customers, and there’s a price on doing that — every head that comes through the door you’ve done a certain amount of advertising and marketing and what not.”

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