increasing market attendance

MeLani M mmaysen at
Sun Sep 9 22:10:52 EDT 2001

Please forgive the delay. I have busy at market, but, I have also been approaching other vendors for feedback regarding improving attendance.  I have to admit that I am somewhat frustrated at this point.  Below are some updated responses to your survey.  If you have time, I would appreciate some feedback.
Thanks so much,

Subject: [market-farming] Re: increasing market attendance

> >Approx. 85 farmers are currently participating in the market?

I should say that is the number that belong to the market.  I would say that we have about 50-60 vendors on Saturdays and 30-35 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  We currently pay a $75 annual fee; and daily fees of $7 for weekdays and $10 on Saturdays.

> > Market hours; Tues,Thu, and Sat;  8:30am opening
> >Wed; 4:00pm opening (new and on a trial basis as of late June 2001)

The wednesday market was cancelled after 11 market sessions.  Although there was little, if any advertising, for it. We are located in a mall parking lot, but, not visible from either of the 'main drags' that the mall sits at.  These main roads are full of commute traffic during the evening market hours, and I really felt we could make a go of it, if we were visible.

> The campaign would feature testimonials from a variety of
> satisfied shoppers talking about the various reasons they
> patronize the market.  Perfect for radio.  Good for TV and
> air time in your town should not be prohibitively expensive.

There has been some advertising. I, however, have only seen the TV ads twice and it was during the noon news.  I have never heard the radio spots.  How would you decide which radio stations with which to advertise. Sheer listening audience numbers?, or target towards specific ages, etc.?

> >It is a growers-only market and local (about 7 surrounding counties)
> These facts alone make it possible to highlight the ecological
> value of not shipping goods 100's or thousands of miles in
> addition to highlighting freshness.

> >I don't have the crowd numbers. I'll try to find out.
> >I would guess in the 500 range, but, I may be way off.

I have since checked with the market manager and no counts are taken.  Also, I was told it was dificult to do since our market has no one entrance point.  People park all around it and meander in.  How would you convince some that this is necessary and possible?

> >The market is held at the parking lot of the only mall in town.
> If you are visible from both of the main drags, that is
> all that's necessary. 
> >We pay nearly $10,000/yr to lease this space from the mall.
> >(It is located in Springfield, Mo, a small town of approx. 150,000.)
> If another $5,000/yr would get you frontage on the bigger
> of the main drags it would certainly be worth it.  The size of
> the market setup would attract attention by itself and with
> a four day spread, chances are everyone in town would
> see it within a few weeks.
> That kind of visibility makes advertising much easier.

As mentioned above, we are not visible from either of the main drags.  I have mentioned this to many members over the past few weeks.  Some tell me that we were moved to a roadside location one time (temporary situation) and that their customers couldn't find them.  To me this seems easily solved with a sign. Other vendors claim the mall wants us where we are, and yet, others claim it will make no difference in attendance.  I would like to bring this up at our fall meeting as I believe it will make a difference.  Does your experience support this?

>  ...<snip>

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