For Simon Pellegrino, owner of Simon Says Ice Cream, running a stall at the downtown Grimsby Farmers Market is a dream come true.
“It was always my dream to have a vendor spot in the downtown,” he said.
Last week, after two-and-a-half years, the Grimsby Farmers Market returned to the downtown core from its temporary home at the Peach King Centre.
For vendors and businesses on Main Street, where the market now takes place every Thursday, the market has returned to the spot it belonged. “It does belong here,” said Pellegrino.
He admits the location at the Peach King Centre felt a bit out of the way, and now that it has returned, the market has more of a festival vibe. What’s more, he said, the market now gets customers who might just be passing by the downtown and decide to pop in, rather than just those who made the conscious decision to go to the market.
The homemade ice cream seller, who has been making ice cream since he was nine years old and has run his business mostly online for the past three years, said the downtown farmers market is much busier than at the Peach King Centre. “It’s wonderful,” he said.
Nick Pappas, marketing and brand manager at Collab Wine & Beverage who runs a stall at the market, said there was more foot traffic at the market now it had returned downtown, in part since customers don’t have to actively seek out the Peach King Centre. “It’s great to be back,” he said.
Wilson Torres, who runs Delicious All Day Coffee with his partner Adriana Hurtado, said the market was great for vendors and praised the atmosphere. “It feels like a great family atmosphere,” said the vendor, who sells coffee from his family farm in Medellin, Colombia.
But it isn’t only the market vendors that will benefit from the market being downtown, he said, but also the brick-and-mortar businesses on the street. “The market brings a lot of people, not only for the (vendors), but for businesses,” Torres said.
That’s backed up by Roseanna La Porta, owner and operator of Bottega, the shop connected to Casa Toscana on Main Street, which faces the market. “We love market day,” she said. “We thrive on market days.”
The shop, which opened in June 2022 as an extension of the Casa Toscana restaurant, receives a lot of exposure on market days, since it is about halfway down the line of vendors on the street and has a lot of passersby.
La Porta was thrilled the market was back downtown. Just like Pellegrino and Torres, she praised the atmosphere of the market. “It’s friendly, it’s inclusive, it’s community driven, it’s happy, it’s informative, it’s just encompassing so much,” she said.
She said, since people’s curiosity was piqued when they passed the store, it was a good opportunity for the shop to educate the public on Italian culture.
La Porta’s aim is for the Bottega, which sells authentic Tuscan products like balsamic and oil, to become the destination for Grimsby. The market provides a great opportunity to draw in more customers, not just from Grimsby, but further afield.
“Grimsby is the gateway to Niagara, so let’s utilize that,” she said.
The farmers market will take place on Main Street West for the remainder of the 2022 season and will make a full return in 2023.
Chris Pickles, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News