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Public Markets and Store Retailing-moving in opposite directions


Growing demand

At the Maryville Farmers’ Market, treasurer Lisa Phipps has seen vendors and sales grow by leaps and bounds since the market was launched three years ago.

In addition to a $20 fee for joining the market association, producers pay 4 percent commission on their sales.

Most markets have an application process to ensure their vendors are selling locally grown product and require either a flat payment for a booth or, like Maryville, charge on a commission basis. Growers range from larger wholesale producers to local retirees with a backyard plot, she said.

“I made the deposit yesterday for the first three weeks,” Phipps said. “The revenues compared to (this time) last year were absolutely doubled.”

She attributes some of that growth to more favorable weather conditions this spring, but Phipps said she’s seen a definite surge in the number of shoppers as well.

“The second week we were full. We had so much foot traffic. It’s just amazing how many customers we had,” she said. “There’s a pretty good variety of all kinds of people - grandmothers (who) can’t find greens anywhere. … We’ve got chefs that are shopping in our markets. It’s mothers that care a lot about what their children eat. It’s healthy people.

“There’s also people who come up here just to have fun.

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