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summer farmers market manager?

January 31, 2016

How many of y’all out there love the summer farmers market in downtown Scottsbluff?

*raises hand* Meeee! I do! I do!

The market taps into many of the things I love about living in Scottsbluff: a walkable downtown, locally-produced fresh food, great people. I’ve made a lot of friends through that farmers market.

I want to help the market succeed, so I’m writing this post to ask a question: do you have marketing skills you could bring to bear on your love for the summer farmers market?

The Scottsbluff Downtown Association is looking for a new manager for the 18th Street Farmers Market for 2016, since last year’s manager has taken a new job that precludes her from continuing in the position.

What does being a farmers market manager involve?

  1. Acting as representative for the market at meetings, to customers, to vendors, and in the press.
  2. Getting more vendors and shoppers to come to the market, through press releases, flyers, social media and innovative ideas to keep things fresh.
  3. Overseeing the weekly market and its administration: setting up signage, assigning vendor booths, communicating with the vendors, keeping up to speed with state and local food permit requirements, ensuring that market operating rules are met, cleaning up the site post-market, keeping track of paperwork and mailing lists.

It seems like most of the job comes down to marketing and communication: phone calls, emails, social media posts, getting people excited about the market and keeping them excited and wanting to come back every week and keeping a good variety of producers, even during the slow-ish early season.

The position pays a flat fee, plus a bonus if the market turns a profit, and takes about 10-15 hours a week, with most of that time coming on market days during the June-September season. You get additional job-satisfaction benefits:

  • Helping contribute to the local economy.

As former market manager Kat Tylee put it:

More people downtown = more sales for downtown businesses. I know [businesses see] a noticeable difference in the number of people on Saturday mornings when the market is open. By spending your money locally you keep money within the local economy. Example: You buy from Jen Rutherford, and she is liable to shop at one, or several, of the local businesses on the way home from market. Most of us vendors try to purchase our supplies and goods locally. Seeds from Meadowlark, feed from Jen and Rick, vegetables from either Jen, Beth, Tracy, or someone else, crafts from Joyce, and so on. Almost all of my fiber is produced locally, so when a person buys my yarn they are not just supporting me, but they are supporting Brown Sheep, Jen Rutherford, and Susan Boyes, along with several grocery stores and cafes (like the Mixing Bowl) because I like to spend my money locally.

  • Becoming an integral part of the community of the downtown farmers market.

Again, an observation from Kat, who is a newcomer to the area:

I really love doing the market for both the vendors and the community. When I joined the market, that was when it truly felt like we had been completely welcomed to the community of Scottsbluff/Gering.

It would make sense that a market vendor would step up to the position, since it’s in their interest, but it’s difficult to both tend to your own booth and tend to the market at the same time. I would consider doing this job myself, except for the fact that Bugman and I do long training rides on the tandem on summer weekends, which would often conflict with market days.

How about you? Does this job sound like a good fit for you?

If so, contact Jeri Goodman at jerigoodman AT fnbnp.com

 

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