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Author Topic: market mix of vendors
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  L'il Farmer
  Big Lake, MN
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market mix of vendors    (Posted Wed, Apr 4 '12 at 07:53 UTC)

How much does your market take into account the items a new vendor applicant will be selling? What are the criteria they have for who they allow in? If someone else has the same items do they say no to new applicants to reduce competition? etc

Grandma's Garden, naturally raised veggies, herbs and cut flowers.
 Shari
 Beryl UT
Re: market mix of vendors    (Posted Wed, Apr 4 '12 at 08:20 UTC)

From years past (in another life), I participated in two pretty good sized (well established) markets, and none of them curbed competition. Rather, they concentrated on quality, and the more participants the better up to a point, when they had their space full.

Four Country Gals, the ONLY Certified Organic Produce farm in SW Utah. Also custom-raised lamb and rabbit available.
 wvhaugen
 Ferndale
Re: market mix of vendors    (Posted Wed, Apr 4 '12 at 09:02 UTC)

Here is my advice from starting two markets and advising/helping for a third. There is probably more info here than you can use, but I think all my points are important and they get you thinking holistically.
1) Allow crafts. You need at least 5 tents to have a market "look and feel."
2) No stall fees for the first year or two. This allows people to try out their business plan and get a feel for what is involved in selling.
3) Go local. This used to mean within the state, but now is approaching a consensus of within the county or within 25 miles.
4) Crafts made locally but with non-local ingredients are okay. An example would be jewelry made with precious stones from Brazil. The important point is the end product, not the supply chain. After all, the craft vendor may point out that seeds for the chard grown locally may have come from a Maine seed company.
5) Don't have too many hours at the market. A 5-hour market (e.g. 10 am - 3 pm) means a 10-hour day for the farmer. Craft vendors don't have the same problem. They can just load up the night before and don't have to start harvesting at 5:30 am.
6) New vendors should be allowed, even if they have the same product. We need to get more people to buy, not restrict competition. This is why niche protection is so bad. Farmers already compete - the crafts vendors should do the same.
7) The best way to make decisions is with a craft "jury." This should be composed of half+1 farmers, half craft vendors (so you get an odd number on the jury for voting purposes). The farmers provide your objective view, the craft vendors your subjective view. The market manager cannot be on the jury as he/she needs to stand above the fray to administer the rules. "Coming to consensus" is crap and should not be used - straight voting is the way to go. I first go onto "coming to consensus" in 1972 when I was involved in North Country Co-op in Minneapolis. I thought it was crap then and I still think so. One person, one vote is the way to go (and is the original co-op idea, BTW). Managed consensus is crap too, as the mucky-mucks in the co-op get to control the agenda, so new ideas never get aired. I ran into this in the Bozeman Food Co-op and is the reason I left that co-op too.
8) A current vendor coming up with a competing idea is a new and difficult situation as the intent to drain money from the original vendor is clear. The Ferndale Market had a problem with this last year. A friend of mine was selling baked goods and coffee and was doing well. Another vendor showed up with baked goods and coffee one week and for the rest of the season. This took half the business away. (The new vendor already had another craft booth.) This became a real problem. When one of the city councilman asked my advice, I parsed it as competition okay for raw food producers, not okay for value-added products. He liked that idea, so there are two ways to look at the problem right here in this example. This is what the jury is for.
9) One of the lessons I have gleaned from 45 years in the struggle is that when the local people step forward to solve the problem, let them do it. At that point, the activist has done his/her job and the locals have to continue.

Catering to the unique Ferndale perspective.
 Shari
 Beryl UT
Re: market mix of vendors    (Posted Wed, Apr 4 '12 at 10:45 UTC)

Awesome post, Walt.

Something else I just thought of.... many farmers' markets have web pages. Google "farmers market" and see what you find. That should give you plenty of information as to how they handle market membership, crafts/music/food booths/competition.

Remember, the real reason for having a market is for the customers. I know that sounds silly, but farmers gathering to sell stuff doesn't make a market unless you have buying customers. Figure out what draws people with money to spend and you'll hit the jackpot.

Old marketing axiom: Find a need and fill it.

Four Country Gals, the ONLY Certified Organic Produce farm in SW Utah. Also custom-raised lamb and rabbit available.
 L'il Farmer
 Big Lake, MN
Re: market mix of vendors    (Posted Mon, Apr 9 '12 at 06:48 UTC)

Our market already has made a decision (prior to my joining the committee) to not allow anymore produce vendors. We are actively searching for stuff we don't have or no longer have. I am promoting prepared food- especially with aroma like a fried food stand or local restaurant booth that can change restaurants. I love that idea and hope we get some takers. Anyway I am wondering if we are getting less choices on applicants.:-( One applied with awesome stuff recently but was like 5 miles out of our range. I still consider that local but they voted them out before I joined the committee. I would have fought for them. I am much more concerned about the products truly coming from the vendor, no sneaky reselling, than 30 miles rather than 25!

Grandma's Garden, naturally raised veggies, herbs and cut flowers.
 Dog-Gone Good!
 Kalispell
Re: market mix of vendors    (Posted Wed, Apr 11 '12 at 06:02 UTC)

I am Representing 4-H Glacier Stars, I'm the secretary of the group. I wanted to set up a stand for fund for the 4-H dog show and I am wondering when I can?

Dog-Gone Good Dog Treats (4-H)
 kalao
 chennai
market mix of vendors    (Posted Thu, Apr 26 '12 at 03:55 UTC)

Market managers said that most of their challenges revolve around vendors ? recruiting the right numbers, especially farmers, to meet customer demand and the right mix to "keep things fresh and unique" and "maintain a good variety of items for sale."

 kalao
 chennai
market mix of vendors    (Posted Thu, Apr 26 '12 at 04:09 UTC)


Managers know they must keep their vendors happy to avoid vendor "burn out" and to encourage consistent participation at the market. Managers monitor vendor compliance and enforce rules to "maintain peace between vendors and make sure everyone plays by the rules."

 kalao
 chennai
market mix of vendors    (Posted Sat, Apr 28 '12 at 03:01 UTC)

Vendor Guidelines 2010


These vendor guidelines and the market rules must be followed by all vendors.
Their purpose is to ensure the smooth running of West Island Farmers' Market in a manner that meets the needs of farmers, vendors and consumers.
These guidelines and all other aspects of the West Island FM are the responsibility of the board of directors of a BC registered non-profit society,
the Women's Food and Water Initiative for a Sustainable Vancouver Island Bioregion (WFWI).

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