Comment 97218

By JayRobb (registered) | Posted January 27, 2014 at 10:21:09

A couple suggestions on the Farmers' Market:

  1. Spin it off as a nonprofit and unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of current and future vendors. Can't think of a good reason why the city and taxpayers should be in the business of running a farmers' market (same could be said for golf courses,a water park and children's museum). Free up councillors to focus on essential services and strategic priorities.

  2. Adopt a set of guiding principles for the market. The 10 principles for the Evergreen Farmers' Market at Brick Works in Toronto are worth a look.

  3. Invest some serious money in branding and marketing. For starters, compare the Hamilton Farmers' Market website with Evergreen, the Byward Market in Ottawa and the London Farmers' Market. What's the unique value proposition for the Hamilton Farmers' Market? Who's the target market?

  4. Welcome food truck operators to set up shop. A place to be in the winter and to make the jump from food truck operations to a bricks and mortar business. Market could be an incubator for restaurant start-ups and where established butchers and bakers in Hamilton set up satellite businesses.

  5. Close off a stretch of York Blvd on Saturdays in the summer and move vendors onto the street (who wants to be in the basement of a concrete bunker when the sun's shining?).

Have to think that if the Farmers' Market offers customers a unique and consistently excellent experience, there won't be any need to offer free parking at the taxpayer owned garage. If going to the market is a weekly event not to be missed, most of us will happily pay $2.50.

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