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From the Market Manager: Opening Day

It seems pretty cool to me that just because we all agree to come together on Wednesday afternoons, so many people get great food, and vendors get to make a living.

A bird's eye view of the Coffee Creek Farmers Market, 2021. Photo by Kate Brown


By Kat Peters, Market Manager for Coffee Creek Farmers Market


I know you’re excited for the farmers market season to be here! Me too!


This is the week – Opening Day is Wednesday, April 20 (3-7 PM). The weather looks…. Well, we’ll see what the weather brings. There has been so much that is going into the opening of the market. I thought I’d tell you a little more about it.


Maybe one way of describing organizing a farmers market is to just tell you a little about this past week.


Monday

There are always emails to be read and answered, from vendors, sponsors, and the media. So I did that, and posted our vendor profile for the week, along with sharing that on social media.


This past week was especially exciting because all of the physical items we need to run the market are starting to come together. Here’s an (incomplete) list:


· 2 signs to put out on Highway 49 (with their posts, bungee cords, and ratchet straps)

· Market tent

· Market table

· Market sign with sponsors’ names

· First aid kit

· Market “bin,” in which to stores important market items

· 4 A-frame signs and inserts

· Email sign-up sheets

· Postcards (and holders for those)

· Tote bags

· Prints for sale of tote bag art for this year (these are awesome, by the way!)

· Checklist for safety on market day

· Vendor information (health permits, insurance, payments, schedules)

· Market map with everyone’s location planned out, including access to electricity

· Copy of updated market rules for vendors to initial


Tuesday

I received checks we’ve gotten in the mail from vendors and sponsors. These I keep track of, deposit at the bank, and make notes in our budget and also the vendor and sponsor spreadsheets.


There’s something about seeing the checks come in that makes tangible the fact that this market is stimulating the local economy. Vendors can pay to participate because the market space that we create allows them to access their customers, and make money to support themselves and their families.

It seems pretty cool to me that just because we all agree to come together on Wednesday afternoons, so many people get great food, and vendors get to make a living.


Wednesday

I got to visit our Pumpkin Sponsor, Roots Market Café, and the ladies there helped me draw the names of the 10 winners of the 2021 market tote bags we gave away as part of our Customer Survey. Because I’m the only employee of the market, it’s fun to “invent” colleagues from others around town, and to do little fun projects together.


Thursday

I learned how to set up the signs on Highway 49 that lead people to us. It was WINDY that day. I learned that working at the farmers market requires some muscles, and some weather-hardiness. That’s fine with me! This is not a desk job!


The market is located in the Pavilion parking lot of the Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve, and not visible from the highway, so these big yellow signs help point people in the right direction (hint, turn east on Sidewalk Rd, also known at 1050 N, and keep heading east for about 4 blocks; then you can’t miss us).

Make a note of our location!


Friday

Ok, here’s where my two kids got involved:


I had ordered signs for the market A-frames, which get set out to direct and welcome people to the market. When I went to pick them up, I took my two sons into Simko Signs with me. I did not realize that they have a fish tank inside Simko Signs; nor did I realize that the time of day we walked in was about feeding time. So, my sons got to feed the tropical fish; they were thrilled.


After that, we went to pick up our tote bags from Rusthead Design. I did not realize that they have a doorbell at toddler height inside Rusthead Design. But everyone realized that fact soon after we walked in the door, because my toddler rang that thing at least 12 times. He was thrilled.


Come check out the t-shirt they gave me – it has a cartoon of the owners of both of these local businesses (Simko Signs and Rusthead Design) on it. I’ll wear it to market sometimes. It’s kind of hilarious.

Left to right: Awesome tote from Rusthead Design, hilarious Mike and Steve shirt, awesome tote from Simko Signs.


By the way, all of the things I have been doing, so have the vendors.


As you can see in the vendor profiles, all the vendors not only make or grow all of the products they sell, but they all do their own marketing, financial administration, inventory, scheduling, product development… you get the idea. All the things that larger companies have people or whole departments for, these folks do themselves. It’s quite amazing. So for every step that it takes us to get the market rolling, they are also doing in their own small businesses.


It has been so fun to go around town (dropping off postcards, picking up signs, making bank deposits from our generous and awesome sponsors) and hear from so many of you that you are excited to come out to the market. One person even told me: “I don’t care if it’s snowing – I’ll be there!” That’s the spirit.


Find this this week and every week at our Wednesday market at the Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve Pavilion parking lot, April 20-November 2, 2022, from 3-7 PM. Check us out on Facebookand Instagram, and sign up for our mailing list to get notified of all of the vendors' featured products each week.

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