Farmers Market Update

As I’m sure you are aware, we made some significant changes to the Dundee Farmer’s Market this year.  As with any major change, there will be a period of adjustment but we are really quite happy with how the new market is shaping up.

As a reminder, the farmers market is held every Sunday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm right downtown in the triangle.

Here are some details:

  • We are averaging about 12 vendors per week.  One week we were up to 18 vendors!
  • Each week there are 200-300 shoppers.
  • More shoppers visit the business side than the bandstand side so be sure to check out both sides when you come!
  • 1:00-2:00 tends to be the busiest time.
  • We are seeing lots of families and people walking to the market
  • Many people come for the market and also visit downtown businesses or vice versa.

The biggest challenge for the market so far has been the weather!  Such a cool spring and dry summer meant that the veggies didn’t come in as early as usual.  But they are in now!

Market vendors and shoppers have enjoyed many different special events and activities, including donut day, pie baking competition, Hike it Baby demonstration, live musicians, and more.  Upcoming events include:

Be sure to stop by any Sunday to see what is going on.  There is always something new!

New Benches!

If you have spent any time downtown lately, you will have noticed that there is a beautiful new set of benches in the triangle around the bandstand.  Several months ago, the Dundee DDA (Downtown Development Authority) was approached by Bobbi Carroll from the Dundee Area Rotary Club to see if there was a project we could work on together.

The DDA had previously been working on a phased plan to replace some broken benches and to add benches where there really should be some (like along the river walk).  The Rotary Club became aware of our plans and offered to supply the benches for the first phase!

Dick Sowa and Kurt Diver install the plaques to the new benches in the Downtown Triangle.

The Rotary graciously supplied the benches and arranged for their installation.  The new benches are quite comfortable and fit so much better with the aesthetic of historic downtown.  If you have not yet enjoyed the benches, please do come downtown and give them a try!  And be sure to thank a Rotary member!

You can learn more about the Dundee Area Rotary Club on their Facebook page.

Get Downtown #2

This is the 2nd story in our Get Downtown! series.  We had such beautiful weather this weekend, we got two submissions back to back. Who is going to be next?


Kristine’s Story

When did you get downtown?
Sunday, April 17

Where did you start from? 
Arbor Chase subdivision

How were you traveling?
By bike.

Who were you with?
My husband and child.

How far did you travel?
About a mile.

How long did it take?
10 minutes

Where were you headed and what did you do?
We were just going for a nice bike ride when we decided to stop at McDonald’s for lunch. My daughter had a happy meal and ate it on the way home!

Do you have any other comments, observations, or suggestions?
The best part of the trip is being able to live where there are businesses and shopping within bike riding distance. The weather was perfect and the trips are always pleasant. The only thing that could make it better is taking some friends along. We ride bikes downtown about three times a week during nice weather. We go down to Wolverine ParkSwan Creek Candles and spend a lot of time at the ice cream shop [Devine Delights]!

>> Do you Get Downtown?  Share your story here.

Get Downtown! #1

Is anyone else excited that spring is finally here?  We are ecstatic! With the warmer weather, we start to see many more people downtown visiting the Heart of Dundee.  We live in a walkable community – meaning it is easy and desirable to get places by foot.

“Truly walkable communities are characterized by much more than good sidewalks and street crossings; they include many attributes: a mix of uses, frequent street connections and pedestrian links, timeless ways of designing and placing buildings. They create desirable places to spend time in, to meet others.” From: walkable.org

In honor of the beautiful spring weekend, we are kicking off a post series called “Get Downtown!”  It will feature stories from Dundee residents about there travels – by foot or by bike – to the Heart of Dundee.  We want to hear how your walk or ride was, how long it took you to get to downtown, what you did once you got there, and so on.  And we are hoping to encourage more people to get walking and get downtown!  Submit your own story here.

We hope you enjoy our first story!


BL’s Story

 

When did you get downtown?
4/16/2016

Where did you start from? 
The neighborhood southeast of the Old Mill – near Dundee Methodist Church

How were you traveling?
Walking – and pretty slow, too.

Who were you with?
I walked with my 2 kids, ages 12 and 6.

How far did you travel?
From home to Devine Delights (with all the little detours) was 0.92mi.  I used “Map my Walk” on my iPhone to track the distance.

How long did it take?
We sat down with our ice cream 28 minutes after we started off.  Includes scooping time.

Where were you headed and what did you do?
It was such a nice day that the kids asked to take a walk to downtown. Our destination was Devine Delights but had many stops along the way. Along the walk, we were looking for signs of spring – flowers, shoots, buds, etc. We stopped at to look over the river from the upper lookout are by the Old Mill. There were a lot of people fishing in the lower area so we decided not to go down. And then after a brief stop on the other side of the river at the gazebo, we decided to get on over to Devine Delights for ice cream! We enjoyed strawberry, cookie dough, and something with caramel that got named “Milky Bites.” A lot of other people had the same idea about ice cream – it was the perfect day for it. On the way home, we stopped at Open Door Boutique and Swan Creek. Bought a few little things for Mother’s Day (and some old toy cars from upstairs at Swan Creek).

Do you have any other comments, observations, or suggestions?
It was a lovely walk and afternoon. The pinwheels in the triangle were colorful and beautiful. Loved seeing so many people out and about. The kids are planning to have us take them fishing at the river soon! The one thing that could have been better was the old picnic benches where we ate our ice cream.  They aren’t looking too great.  I thought it would be a great volunteer project to sand and repaint the benches in the gazebos!

Are you our next market manager?

 

The Dundee DDA and the Farmers Market Committee are looking for a dynamic, community-minded person to lead our effort to refresh the farmers market.

The market manager is a part-time position (~14 hrs/week) with a primary responsibility of conducting the day to day operation of the farmers market. This includes on­site presence at the market during all market hours, vendor support and recruiting, event planning, and promotions.  The application period is now through 4/18/2016 so if you are interested, don’t delay. The new market manager will start immediately – the market season is almost here!

If the following statements describe you, you may be the ideal candidate:

  • I love my community and want to find ways to make it stronger.
  • I am passionate about farmers markets, agriculture, and locally-made products.
  • I love to use my creativity and ideas to bring people together.
  • I have a diverse network of friends and acquaintances in and around our community.
  • I believe in trying new things and learning from experiences – it is the best way to improve and grow.

 

Big News for the Dundee Farmers Market!

For those who have been following along with the Heart of Dundee or the Dundee Farmers Market, it should be pretty clear that we have been putting a concentrated effort toward market improvements for the coming year.

Our goal for the 2016 market season is to increase the value of the market – for vendors and shoppers – through a strong community-centered approach.  The new market will enrich the downtown experience and connect members of our community with each other.  We believe that as you get to know your grower, your food producer, your craftsman, your local business owner, you will develop and new and lasting connection to your place – the Heart of Dundee.

About a month ago, we asked you to share your thoughts, via survey, about the market and how to make it better.  We talked to vendors and to shoppers to hear their opinions.  We are so pleased to have received so much feedback from our community about the market. We listened and have decided to try out some changes.


Feedback: “Market time is not convenient for me.”

In years past, the market was open from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays. We heard from many vendors and from shoppers that Saturday morning is not the best time for them.

>> News: Market is now on Sunday 10:00-3:00

We believe that the new day/time will allow us to increase participation in the market – vendors, and shoppers. Here are some of the driving factors behind this change:

  • Farmers often pick their produce and get everything ready in the morning.  Doing this and setting up in time for an 8 a.m. opening, is very hard.
  • For families, Saturday morning is for kids’ activities (like soccer) and running errands.
  • As we try to add new vendors, we have found that many are already going to markets on Saturday and so a Sunday market will bring new opportunities.

Feedback: “Market is not noticeable in its current location.  I drive right by it.”

Since it began, our market has been located in the municipal parking lot by Devine Delights, Commander Cal’s, and Advanced Eye Care. We heard from many people that due to the surroundings, the market is often overlooked.

>> News: Market is now located in the triangle (Riley & Park Place)

As we work to increase awareness of the market, we believe that a more central location will be better. Our reasoning:

  • The market will be more visible to passers-by and they will have greater opportunity to pull in and shop.
  • As a DDA project, we went to the market to have a greater connection with the downtown and with our businesses.  We believe that there will be a great deal of synergy between the businesses and the market if they are located closer together.

Feedback: “I always forget about Market. More advertising/reminders would help.” and “I wish there was more information/support available.”

Both vendors and shoppers want to see more promotions for the market.  Vendors want to draw in more shoppers and shoppers want to be reminded that the market is happening. This kind of information sharing and advertising requires a constant effort, on top of regular market duties, to ensure success.

>> News: Market Manager is now a paid position, accountable to the Farmers Market Committee

The DDA and the Farmers Market Committee have agreed to a set of goals for the 2016 market season.  We believe that having a skill and dedicated person to be the administrator of the market, is a required step in meeting these goals.  He or she will be able to focus on promotions, as described above, and many other tasks required for a successful market. A stipend will be provided to the person selected to act as manager. The job description is available for reference.

Many markets start out with a volunteer market manager. In the long-run, however, paying a manager a fair salary is the best way to maintain a manager’s enthusiasm level and their ability to devote the hours necessary to nurture a successful farmers market. (reference)


These and many smaller changes were carefully decided upon to help strengthen the market and improve it for you.  We will carefully monitor the impact of these changes to ensure we are moving in the right direction.  We encourage you to share your thoughts and to contribute in any way you can.

As we approach the start of the market season, there are a lot of things to get squared away.  We need your help to make our new market a success.

Here the top 6 things you can do to contribute to the market:

  1. If you are a vendor or know of any vendors who might be interested in our market.
  2. Come out to the market! Give it a try!  Opening day is May 15.
  3. Follow the Farmers Market Facebook page to stay up to date on events and such.
  4. Share, share, share!! Help spread the word by sharing our posts and events.
  5. Volunteer! There are always things you can do to help.
  6. Tell what you think. Always. This community market is for you.

Update: Never miss another market.  If you would like reminders of upcoming market days and events, subscribe to our events on Facebook. Just go to the market event page and click “Subscribe.”

Dundee Farmers Market Is Looking for New Vendors & More Shoppers

Ideas and opinions have been collected from market shoppers and vendors (past, current, and prospective) through a community survey and in-person conversations.  We learned so much about what you want to see and are planning on making some changes!

As part of our effort to refresh the market this year, we are working hard to add more vendors of all types… farmers, greenhouses, home growers, bakers, artisans, etc.  We would love to have some of our former vendors return as well as see some new faces.  This year is all about connecting people in the community with each other – get to know your farmer, baker, maker, crafter!  

If you or anyone you know would is interested in becoming a vendor for the Dundee Farmers Market, find out about Becoming a Vendor.  We welcome vendors for a whole season or individual days – we will work with you to come up with the best options.  And please, help us spread the word.

With your help, we can increase the value of the market for everyone!  Opening day for the market is May 14th Sunday, May 15th and we’d love to see you there.

 

What’s in store for Downtown Dundee in 2016?

We think this is going to be an exciting year!  During the winter months, we have been getting a lot of planning done for the coming year.  The first bit of news to share is that we have had some changes in board membership.  The current board includes:

  • Beth LaPensee (Chair) – Resident
  • Lyle Jaworski (Vice-Chair) – Business Owner, Uncle Lyle’s Tavern
  • Mima Kubiske (Secretary) – Business Owner, David Arthur Consultants
  • Marcella Osenbaugh-Valle – Business Owner, Cella-Mar Studio of Hair
  • Denny Polito – Business Owner, Antiques, Collectibles and Upcycled Treasures (below Swan Creek)
  • Terry Potts – Resident, Property Owner
  • Mary Schultz – Old Mill Representative
  • Dave Uhl – Village Representative

We have also had to say goodbye to two of our previous board members: Denny Nisch and Sean McClellan. We look forward to working with them on downtown projects, even if they won’t be able to be on the board anymore.  Thank you both for all you have done!

Now, we have 3 big goals for 2016 that you will be hearing more about throughout the year:

  1. Establish a comprehensive revitalization program.  In order to ensure the long-term success of our downtown, we will be applying to the Michigan Main Street Program. There is a lot of work to do to get accepted but it will pay off!  More on this one soon…
  2. Strengthen our support and services for businesses.  We believe that the more we support our businesses, the stronger our downtown will be.  That goes for all of our residents and visitors as well as the DDA.  We will be looking for new ways to make this happen. This includes fun retail events, like Shop Small, as well as support in promotions and outreach within the community.
  3. Improve our existing assets.  There are so many great things about our downtown.  We want to focus our efforts this year on engaging the community and making the Heart of Dundee even stronger.  You will see, for example, a big focus on the Farmers Market, growing the fall car show to be more general interest.

As we progress through the year, we will share info about all of our efforts… plans, successes, and opportunities for you to get involved!