How long has the market been operating?
We’ve been in parking lots for the last 30 or 40 years – they’ve had farmers markets that long here in Independence. The city spent $3.5 million on [The Independence Uptown Market] where have a pavillion outside and the enclosed structure, which is used for farmers markets six months out of the year.
How long have you worked with this market?
Twelve years. When I retired 12 years ago, the city approached me about managing the market because the previous manager had passed away. So I took on the project.
How would you describe this market compared to others?
It’s fun. You meet a lot of people, and I knew a lot of farmers and customers as a previous business owner. It’s kind of like you’re going to a reunion everyday. You see people that you maybe haven’t since last year. So you get to visit. A lot of people come up here to shop, and they just stop by and visit, just wanting to talk about the good old days.
How many farmers vend at this market?
We have about 40 vendors that are regulars. Then we have another probably 20 that are occasional vendors. But in this space, we can accommodate as many as 60 vendors if we had to.
How many people shop at this market?
There’s no way to monitor with all the doors and such, but most of my farmers and most people that I call regular customers that visit seem to think our traffic is a lot more since we moved here. On a busy day, I would guess between 1,200 and 1,500 customers on a Saturday when we’re in peak season, July and August.
Other fun vendors here?
A lot of crafters. We have a hot dog vendor; we have a coffee vendor; we have a mini-donut vendor. You know, we try to have fun.
That’s the main thing you want, to be honest. I see people come up here just to walk around to visit. They don’t even buy anything. Sometimes they’re just, they’re hooked into the every week thing. That’s when you start knowing people by their first names, when they come up that often.
Why should people shop at farmers markets?
Our draw is the just the fresh homegrown produce that’s so much better than you can get in the grocery stores. And people like to keep the money local. I think a lot of people shop to support their local farmers.
Anything else you want to add?
If people haven’t seen this facility, they’re missing out. It’s very nice.
To be honest, when I first asked for something, I just wanted a cover and maybe a bathroom. And we got all this! We have bathrooms and water fountains, a catering kitchen and electric sliding doors.
You know we used to just have a parking lot with a port-a-potty. We’ve stepped it up just a little bit.
May to October: 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.
June to September: 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.