The Grimsby Farmers’ Market has returned and is now operating out of the parking lot of the Peach King Centre as part of COVID-19 regulations.
On May 27, the farmers’ market returned to Grimsby, this time at the Peach King Centre, as opposed to its traditional location downtown. Market manager Michelle Seaborn said that although the number of visitors is significantly less, she was still pleased with the turnout at the Peach King Centre. Pre-COVID, The market operated on Main Street in Grimsby and saw approximately 2,500 visitors a week. Typically the market is so busy that other businesses in the area stay open later to compensate for the influx of customers, Seaborn said.
At the current COVID-regulated version of the market, Seabron said the expected number of visitors is around 500. She said one of the added benefits of a small market was that she could make it safer by not only monitoring how many people could visit, but also having a designated entrance and exit area, which wasn’t practical when the market was out on the street.
“The fact that we still got people coming and people are enjoying the market. And I think it's already a success when you’ve got 25 vendors that want to be here and they're doing well each week. I think it's already a success,” said Seaborn.
Tate Medcalf is the retail supervisor for Flat Rock Cellars, a vineyard and wine company that’s been selling out of the Grimsby market for four years. He said the shutdown of the market forced Flat Rock to seek different approaches to retail, mainly focusing on online interactions with customers.
He said for companies based in the area such as Flat Rock Cellars, the reopening of local farmers' markets was vital. “You build a good community that way and people that come here and have a great experience, will go to the winery and become repeat customers.”
Uncle Dad’s Pizza is one of the newer businesses to arrive at Grimsby’s Farmers' Market, according to territory manager Kevin Douglas. Uncle Dad’s Pizza, a pizza and meat pie maker, out of London, Ont., operates in 40 different markets. Last year, Uncle Dad’s made its debut at the Grimsby farmers market, but was only able to operate for a month or so before it was shut down.
“The one thing we found about the Grimsby area was (in) this market alone there was a big sense of community here. So even just coming in at the very tail end of last summer, we see a lot of regular faces,” said Douglas. He said this was encouraging as Uncle Dad’s aims to expand its business in the Hamilton and Niagara area.
Filipino food vendor Fiesta Empanada is another new addition to this year’s market. Owned and operated by Nelson Flores, he said last year’s shutdown prevented him from being able to operate last year at the Grimsby market, but he is “happy to be here” this year.
He said operating in areas like Grimsby is important to his business, one that doesn't have a lot of representation or commonality in the area. “It takes time for people to acquire the taste and understand what product we bring and what flavour we bring. And it takes a while to do that. So I'm happy that people tried it and I'm happy people are coming back for it.”
The market will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and run for the duration of the summer.
Moosa Imran, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News