Despite opening-day jitters by some vendors, the Sudbury farmer’s market re-opened with mostly positive reviews this past Saturday.
The weekend opening marked the launch of the market’s new location at the CP Rail station on Elgin Street. The grounds of that century-old site have been transformed in recent weeks, with new asphalt, tents and flags being installed on the property.
The market moved to the site after the former Market Square building was sold to Laurentian University for $3.3 million in 2011.
Vendors had expressed concerns the market would not be ready in time for the summer season, but after its debut this past weekend, those sellers were able to take a collective sigh of relief.
One of the vendors, Susan Collins of Geo Green Growers, said she was pleasantly surprised by the first-day crowd.
"I really like the space and I like the access, [which is] close to the road," she said. "I think if everyone has a positive attitude, it's going to turn out nice."
She noted there can always been improvements, however, and said she would like to see more outdoor vendor space in the future, as well as larger parking spots for farmers’ trucks.
'Mobile retail units'
One of the more unique features of the outdoor-only market is the stall space created for indoor vendors, people who once had tables set up within the walls of the former Market Square.
Those spaces come in the form of "mobile retail units," a series of 12 shipping container boxes that have been assembled at the back part of the market.
But the stall switch comes with growing pains for some of the vendors.
"I tried to make it look like my booth that I had at the former market," said Joanne Bedard, who was selling jewelry. "It’s a bit smaller, a little more compact, but I think it’s going to work. I think it will be alright."
The shipping container stalls are a temporary solution until renovations are complete on the CP Rail Building that the City bought from the company for $400,000.
"I think (the shipping containers) are a really interesting solution to provide that indoor space," said Meredith Armstrong, the manager of tourism and culture with the City of Greater Sudbury.
"It's going to give us some flexibility on how the market operates and how these vendors can best … attract customers."
This current market set-up could change in future years, Armstrong said, as renovations are wrapped up and a new farmer's market working group is established to determine the best use of the space.