Skip to comments.An artisanís exchange Local business women to open new farmers market
Posted on 01/17/2018 5:27:35 AM PST by SandRat
SIERRA VISTA When Pam Chandler teamed up with Lisa Thompson to start a new farmers market, the duo didnt expect the vendors at the markets debut would be all women.
Chandler, general manager at the Sierra Vista Co-op, came up with the idea to start the Sierra Vista Food Co-op Community Market with Thompson, owner of Thunder Mountain Alpaca Ranch, as a way to give business owners the chance to reach out to different clientele. The market will launch Jan. 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and open the first Saturday of every month in front of the Sierra Vista Food Co-op, located at 96 S. Carmichael Ave.
While the market is open to all vendors, Chandler said the January opening will be made up of all female business owners. Vendors range from local businesses specializing in produce to hand-spun alpaca yarn. This happened by accident, Chandler said, but reflects the makeup of the community and the ubiquity of female entrepreneurs in the area.
I do think that its great that we have so many female business owners. I think that small businesses are a great opportunity for women to thrive, she said. Theres not a lot of corporate business here in Sierra Vista. One place that is really open for us to really go out and do work is in the small-business arena. To me, what that says about women is that theyre willing to go put themselves out there.
Zia Bischoff, owner of Maggies Gourmet Bark-ery, said shes excited to see a group of local business women branching out and starting a new community project. As a small-business owner, she said the farmers market can be a great opportunity for busy business women to find a sense of work-life balance.
I see that many women here at the farmers market have small children and they arent able to work full time, she said. But they are still able to do this. They can do stuff at home and then come to the farmers market.
Thomson, who is a regular vendor at the Sierra Vista Farmers Market, will also set up her booth next week at the Sierra Vista Food Co-op Community Market. As a small business owner and single mom, Thomson said farmers markets give her a chance to network and reach out to other local business owners and customers without having a brick and mortar store.
Weve been doing it seven years now, just me and my daughter, Thompson said. And its more of a social thing than just being at a regular nine-to-five job.
Aside from being completely run by women, Chandler said the market wont be a typical farmers market. Instead, she calls the concept an artisan farmers market where people can learn about products they are buying through informational lectures.
Were going to highlight a vendor a month and at each of the farmers markets, they are going to give a class, Chandler said.
Thompson and Chandler designed the market to highlight a different business every month through artisan classes. Featured business owners will give educational lectures similar to those educational programs held at the co-op on their craft and teach market patrons about the trade. This month, Bischoff will kick off the local business lecture next Saturday and teach market-goers how she makes handmade dog treats.
I make all the treats, which have no preservatives and no chemicals, Bischoff said. I hand-make them and they are all made with ingredients that you can find at the food co-op.
One of Chandlers goals for the market is to help revitalize the West End of Sierra Vista. She hopes the market will draw in more business owners from around the area and turn into a regular hotspot for locals to explore and learn more about their surroundings.
Its unique to the West End and, being that the West End is such a cultural area, its going to be fun to offer people classes as well as handmade items, Chandler said. Our goal is to be able to have an outlet for people who make things.
I used to have a Farm Stand at my other farm. I really enjoyed it. No one ever stole from me, either. I’d put stuff out, and a cash jar and people took it from there.
I wish these ladies luck! Every ‘co-op’ or farmer’s market I’ve been involved with goes through a LOT of ‘growing pains’ along the way to success or failure.
Could it be that no men are involved because the men saw this as a bad idea from the beginning?
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