Dear Jon: I am so glad you asked! We have sort of wondered this ourselves. You have also touched on one of our other passions in life: Entrepreneurship; which is why I am more than happy to provide an explanation. Good business is a combination of factors, not the least of which is marketing and promotion. And good business, like many things in life, requires practice, patience, perseverance and a willingness to learn.
One of my current favorite quotes is by P.T. Barnum of "The Greatest Show on Earth": "Without promotion, something terrible happens ... NOTHING!"
Walt Disney had a vision; talked about it to many people; and ultimately saw at least the beginning of it fulfilled during his lifetime. Today, the Disney Corporation has amazing amusement parks on several continents, replicating Walt's original Vision. He certainly did not have the funds alone to achieve it, and was told by many that he was crazy for thinking he could do it in a swamp! But he had a Vision, and the only way for it to come to life was to share it, and to start somewhere. Often we have to simply start where we are, and with what we have. The rest comes later.
The intricacies of this project are rather involved to explain here. The bottom line (there always is one) is that the purchase of this property is largely contingent on the ability to pay for both it and the Vision. The website and press have been ways to share that vision, and perhaps also a round about way of getting the word out fast in order to find out if there is truly an interest. Though Year-Round Farmers Markets are extremely successful elsewhere, save for a few local smaller one day farmers markets, there is not really anything in the County like what we are attempting.
The success of this Market depends on the success of the vendors and retailers who we hope will join us, and they will only join us if there is value-added for them to be here rather than stay on their farms. Therefore it is never too early to begin marketing and press as possible. While the press has revolved around the vision right now, the reality is that the Market needs to make money for the producers and farmers who will be selling there.
We have felt it necessary to move forward AS IF the project were already a reality. We would not have taken on such a project had we not believed that the Town would not find it a welcome change of having a large, historic structure sitting in the middle of the Historic Downtown core. I might add, that a Farmer's Market was one of the top desires of the people of the Town when a survey was taken a few years ago. We have confidence in our Town to make the right decision for everyone involved.
There will be parking on the site itself. We have submitted proposals to the Town for allowing parking off site during the open-air market hours on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This is not uncommon for such ventures, and especially businesses in already established towns.
Interestingly, the Vision is also evolving, as many do. Our desire is not to simply have a building where farmers come and sell stuff, but to create an experience that will be fulfilling for both locals and visitors alike.
(Oh! And thank you, Jon, for giving us the topic for today's blog. Hope to meet you at the Market soon!)