The Grimsby Farmers Market is back and is now operating from the parking lot at the Peach King Center under COVID-19 regulations.
On May 27, the Farmers’ Market returned to Grimsby, this time to the Peach King Center, as opposed to its traditional downtown location. Market Manager Michelle Seaborn said that although the number of visitors was significantly lower, she was still happy with the attendance at the Peach King Center. Before COVID, the market operated on Main Street in Grimsby and received around 2,500 visitors per week. Typically, the market is so busy that other businesses in the area stay open later to compensate for the influx of customers, Seaborn said.
In the current version of the COVID-regulated market, Seabron said the expected number of visitors is around 500. She said that one of the added benefits of a small market is that it can make it safer not only by monitoring how many people can visit, but also have a designated entry and exit area, which was inconvenient when the market was on the street.
“The fact that we still have people coming and people are enjoying the market. And I think it’s already a success when you have 25 salespeople who want to be here and they are doing well every week. I think it’s already a success, ”Seaborn said.
Tate Medcalf is the Retail Supervisor of Flat Rock Cellars, a wine and winery business that has been selling in the Grimsby Market for four years. He said the market shutdown forced Flat Rock to research different approaches to retailing, primarily focusing on online interactions with customers.
He said that for businesses based in the area such as Flat Rock Cellars, reopening local farmers’ markets was vital. “You build a good community that way and the people who come here and have a great experience will go to the cellar and become loyal customers.”
Uncle Dad’s Pizza is one of the new businesses to arrive at the Grimsby Farmers Market, according to Territory Manager Kevin Douglas. Uncle Dad’s Pizza, a pizza and meat pie maker from London, Ontario, has a presence in 40 different markets. Last year Uncle Dad’s debuted at the Grimsby Farmers Market, but was only able to operate for about a month before it closed.
“The only thing we found about the Grimsby area was (in) this one market, there was a great sense of community here. So even coming in at the very end of last summer, we see a lot of regular faces, ”said Douglas. He said this was encouraging as Uncle Dad aims to expand his business in the Hamilton and Niagara area.
Another new addition to this year’s market is Filipino food vendor Fiesta Empanada. Owned and operated by Nelson Flores, it said last year’s closure prevented it from being able to operate in Grimsby Market last year, but it is “happy to be here” this year.
He said operating in areas like Grimsby is important to his business, one that doesn’t have much representation or commonality in the region. “It takes time for people to acquire the taste and understand what product we are bringing and what flavor we are bringing. And it takes time to do it. So I’m glad people tried it and I’m glad people are coming back for it.
The market will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and will run throughout the summer.