How farmers markets can do better business

A farmers market consultant who did a training session in Summerside, P.E.I., earlier this week encourages market managers and vendors to become more entrepreneurial in how they run the business.

About 50 people attended Michelle Wolf's training seminar, which she offers to markets across the country through her company, Whole Green Heart out of Berwick, N.S.

There are lots of ways for markets to increase their revenue stream, she said, including selling market-branded merchandise, creating a market cookbook, and fundraisers including ticket auctions.  

But the successful market vendors are the ones who build relationships with their customers, she said.

"There's nothing being sold at farmers markets that people couldn't buy other places and probably more conveniently but what they can't have is the whole experience that takes place on a market day," she said.

Invest for success

"That's what makes us different and unique and that's what we have to keep selling, that authenticity, those wonderful relationships that grow between vendors and their customers."

Wolf said market organizers have to invest to get growth and success.

"That allows them to then do more marketing, hire more staff hours," she said. "As the organization grows you find that vendors do better."

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