Photo by Matt Stensland
Sweet Pea Market employee Adam Gray mans the cash register at the business' Mainstreet Farmers Market booth Saturday. The event ended this weekend.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Steamboat Springs This year's Mainstreet Farmers Market was a success, according to vendors who participated in the annual event held in downtown Steamboat Springs.
"Summer was awesome - totally wonderful," Cindy Ladue, of RedClay Handcrafted Designs, said Saturday. She said she was able to add to her offerings to attract repeat customers in her second year at the event. "Even with the economy, I've done double what I did last year. But I have so much more variety."
Mainstreet Executive Director Tracy Barnett said the farmers market instituted some changes this year, which was the fifth for the market.
This year's event started a week earlier and ended a week later than last year's, Barnett said. And she said the starting time was pushed back an hour to 9 a.m. for the event that lasts until 2 p.m. Barnett said those changes helped contribute to the most successful year the farmers market has had to date.
"There were a lot more vendors this year," she said. "It's grown every year. This year was the biggest."
She said the event averaged 55 vendors on Saturdays between June 13 and Sept. 12, up from about 50 last year.
Barnett added that twice, on July 4 and Sept. 5 (Labor Day weekend), the Farmers Market reached capacity with 63 vendors. That included more food vendors than ever before, which was a goal this year, she said.
Juliann Poma, who manned the Sweet Pea organic produce stand Saturday, said the entire summer was a success for them and that the fact the weather cooperated each weekend didn't hurt. She said it was Sweet Pea's first year participating and that the stand would be back again next year.
"It's such a good atmosphere - the mix between locals and out-of-towners," said Poma, who added that the stand sold a lot of produce this year.
Some area businesspeople also said they benefited from the farmers market.
Paula Salky, of All That Jazz, said she thought it was a positive thing for the community and had become a destination event on Saturdays. Because of the benefits it brought to the business, Salky said she wished it went on longer and started sooner.
"Anytime an activity brings people downtown, it brings people into our stores and restaurants," she said. "If we didn't have the Farmers Market, I don't think we'd have that traffic on Saturdays."
But not all nearby businesses were able to generate sales from Farmers Market patrons.
Traci Dobbins, a bartender and manager at Old Town Pub, which is adjacent to the event site on Sixth Street, said the restaurant began offering a Saturday brunch to attract some of the Farmers Market visitors. But she said it didn't work.
"We didn't get any spillover business," Dobbins said. "We expected to, but because of the food out there, it wasn't what we expected. Everyone ate, got full and left."
Reporter Brandon Gee contributed to this story.