Friday, January 4, 2008

I was asked to talk to some Concord City planners about the downtown market. Here are the talking points.
We feel a downtown farmers market is an amenity that brings several advantages to the City. It brings people out on the street, it is a social equalizer, and it increases number of visitors to downtown.
Here is our current situation.
30 day lease with Wachovia is problematic. Farmers need to plan on a yearly basis.
Difficulty of Parking
Customer mix seems about 50% drive up/50% downtown workers. Drive up traffic could double with better access. Several customers who worked in the CTC building have been terminated in the change to Windstream and nobody knows if replacement workers will support the market at the same level.
Vehicle traffic crosses pedestrian traffic within farmers market. Not sure if this is suppressing customer counts but we suspect it might be a factor.
Lack of Shade
Difficult on produce
Reduces customer count on hotter days (around 90 degrees)
Difficult on farmers

The future of the Farmers Market is unpredictable.
Most likely scenario is that vendor and customer counts will stay steady given current conditions.
Vendor count could rise with better conditions.
The farmers market has discussed finding a better venue for Wednesday (Mt Pleasant, Odell or Midland) but currently the market doesn’t have volunteers willing to take on this task. If another location was found outside of Concord and all vendors given the option of moving, vendor count would probably be cut in half.
Piedmont Farmers Market is committed to building a local food system. Any help achieving this goal would be appreciated.

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