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Erie Street Market has a new manager

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A longtime marketing manager who most recently led the organization that runs the Lucas County Fair has been hired to manage the Erie Street Market.

Pat Nowak, 57, will begin Monday as Erie Street Market manager.

"We're the landlord; CitiFest is the property manager; CitiFest will pay her salary," which will be about $55,000 a year, Jay Black, chief of staff for Mayor Jack Ford, said.

She was hired about three weeks ago, Mr. Black said.

Ms. Nowak, a member of the Erie Street Market board several years ago, has been executive director of the Lucas County Agricultural Society. She was community affairs manager and spokesman for the former Seaway Food Town Inc. She once had an advertising and public relations firm and was a fashion spokesman for the Lion Store.

Ms. Nowak said last night the market has "a wonderful sense of history, being the old [Civic Auditorium]. It really has an opportunity to shine.

"I think it is a sleeping giant waiting to be unfurled," she said.

Daniel Madigan left as market managing director in July, but CitiFest advertised the manager's job a month earlier. A search committee included Mr. Black and Julie Champa, CitiFest executive director.

"We thought [Ms. Nowak] was a good fit," Mr. Black said. "She knows how to promote. She knows how to recruit, and she knows how to manage."

A consultant's report this year recommended $5 million in improvements, including a radical redesign, to restore public interest in the market. Mr. Ford said the city could not afford that expense but promised efforts to rejuvenate the market.

"You don't need the $5 million," Ms. Nowak said last night. "You need the sense of community you can partner with to get the stuff done."

She said the market could be a place for unusual vendors and smaller businesses "to have a chance as entrepreneurs. You have to develop that area as the city hub. You start getting things to happen down there, and people are going to have to come back."

The city annually provides a $300,000 subsidy for the market, in addition to separate funding to CitiFest for operations, Mr. Black said.

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