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:
- If you are a vendor or know of any vendors who might be interested in our market.
- Come out to the market! Give it a try! Opening day is May 15.
- Follow the Farmers Market Facebook page to stay up to date on events and such.
- Share, share, share!! Help spread the word by sharing our posts and events.
- Volunteer! There are always things you can do to help.
- 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.”