Downtown Market off to a successful start

May 30th marked the first of this year’s Downtown Farmer’s Market in its new location on Little Gaetz Ave.

Vendors at the market had a successful first evening with some selling out and others admitting to making sales they wouldn’t have made from their stores.

Janice Shimek, promotions director for the Downtown Business Association, said the vendors couldn’t have been happier. “They were over the moon ecstatic with the turnout. They found there was a lot more employees from the downtown stopping by because it’s now on their route to their cars,” said Shimek.

The Downtown Farmer’s Market boasts a little bit of something for everyone including fresh chicken, elk beef, Swedish bread, honey, farm eggs, kettle corn, fresh flowers and even worms and compost for gardens.

Many shops downtown have partnered with the market to keep their doors open late so people can not only visit the market but the retailers and many of the restaurants in the area as well.

Candace Dunning, owner of Hot Pot Studio, said many people came into the store and she felt that the market is a good way to get the word out about the businesses downtown.

“I think it can only get busier from here as people find the time to come down and spread the word to their friends,” said Dunning.

The market runs every Wednesday from 4 – 7 p.m. until Oct. 3. Parking is available at three different public lots just off of Little Gaetz as well as Sorenson Station downtown. Bike racks are also available for cyclists to use.

Shimek said that the reason behind choosing the time frame they did was to catch the drive-home traffic and the workers who are downtown.

“We wanted to give people an opportunity to pick up the fresh food that they might not otherwise get during the day.”

She said there are also a lot of residents downtown who take the walk to the market before or after supper just to browse. “We have a lot of patio chairs and tables downtown on the sidewalks so there’s no reason why families can’t grab some food and enjoy the market and the weather.”

Shimek also said that the market is looking to bring in regular entertainment and buskers for crowds to enjoy.

“The advantage of the market is that people stop and take the time to ask the producer not only where the product came from but how they might be able to grow or make comparable items at home.”

Dunning also added that the market is a good time for business owners to talk to customers and get an idea of what they would like to see or what it is they enjoy.

“As a business owner I am so pleased with the steps we have taken downtown to increase pride of ownership. The market is just one more step in the right direction.”