York College innovators present ideas to Central Market

Christopher Dornblaser

A few lucky York College freshmen were given the opportunity Tuesday night to present their ideas to improve York City's Central Market.

York College's Graham Innovation Scholars students broke up into four groups and studied the market for the semester, culminating in presentations on how they would make the market experience better.

Around 100 people showed up to see what they had to say about the Central Market.

The class: York College's first class of Graham Innovation Scholars was given the semester to study York City's Central Market and try to come up with ideas.

Dominic DelliCarpini, director of Graham Scholars Program and dean for Center for Community Engagement at York College, said the class is getting the students engaged in the community from the start.

York College Scholar Innovation students William Amtmann, left of Longhorne PA, Jasmine Martin, of Long Island NY, and Ben Hinkel, right of Ashland PA, present their innovation ideas for improving customer experience at the Central Market House, Tuesday Dec. 1, 2015. (John A. Pavoncello - The York Dispatch)

The presentations: Teams of five or six freshmen students spent the semester interacting with customers and vendors in the market in an effort to identify problems and improve aspects of the market.

Team Ironclad pushed the idea of filling empty vendor stands by replacing them with community art from schools or local artists, which they believe will bring more traffic to Central Market.

Scholar Innovation students at York College present their innovation ideas for improving customer experience at the Central Market House, Tuesday Dec. 1, 2015. (John A. Pavoncello - The York Dispatch)

Team Delta opened their presentation with a small skit emphasizing what they thought was wrong with the market, which was the difficulty in finding vendors in the market. They suggested their be lines on the ground leading customers to specific vendors, along with signs hanging above the vendors indicating what vendor they were.

Team Colorful Creative Cats broke into two separate groups with two different ideas for achieving the same general goal. One group wanted the vendors to allow for catering to businesses in an effort to reach other demographics, and the other group wanted to host healthy eating nights in an effort to not only teach people how to eat healthy, but also show that the healthy food could be purchased at the market.

Team Polka Dot Hippo also split into two separate groups. One group wanted to bring a more social atmosphere to the market by implementing a system where a newcomer to the market could sign up to go shopping with an experienced buddy, and the other group wanted to bring in more family-oriented events to attract families and make going to the market more of an event.

The experience: Ben Hinkle called his experience "eye-opening," and said it taught him how to work well as a team.

Cathy Cooper said working with a team allowed her to see a different perspective and helped her be more prepared for the future.

Michaela Snyder said the class forced her, an introvert, to get out and approach random people, which she said she hadn't done before. She also said she thought it was neat to form business relationships by working alongside vendors and people involved with the market.

Jasmine Martin enjoyed her experience. Unlike Snyder, she had no problem going out and approaching strangers for the project.

"I thought it was fun to get involved," she said.

Impact: Cindy Steel, chief of operations at Central Market, said she enjoyed working with the students. She addressed the audience at the end of the presentations, saying being involved was the "funnest" thing she's done in her job.

"I was delighted that they chose market," she said.

Steel was invited to their classroom, where she tried out all of the activities they presented.

"They really thought outside of the box," she said.

She said she liked a lot of their ideas and hopes to implement some parts of them into the market.

Steel added that she does not know the future of the Graham Innovation Scholars program, but would like to continue to be involved if possible.

"If they're still going to be working with me, I'd love to work with them," she said.

DelliCarpini said the students involved will have a real impact.

"I think that this is a group of students who can be real leaders in the community," he said.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com