After one year on a Lark Street asphalt parking lot, the Dunkirk Farmers Market will be moving to Memorial Park. That was the word from Greg Krauza, Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Director of Member Development, who led the revival of the market last year.
Krauza, a former city mayor and councilman, was speaking at a meeting Wednesday of the Common Council Economic Development Committee. He said after three community/stakeholder meetings, and the support of the city, Memorial Park was the choice.
Plans currently call for the market to be located at the east end of the park and to be open Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
OBSERVER Photo by Gib Snyder
Pictured is the eastern area of Memorial Park where the Dunkirk Farmers Market will be located this year, once Common Council gives its approval. The market will open before the end of May, according to information from Greg Krauza of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce.
Krauza said the Thursday night Music on the Pier series is hoped to help attract customers to the market, and Sunday markets are "well traveled."
"Our overall goal is to take the farmers market from a novelty to an essential part of weekly shopping patterns. ... People shop on Sunday mornings," he stated. "If you go to any of the grocery stores they are fairly full on Sunday morning, so we want to make sure they know the market is there, the goods are there, and really become an event that's part of a pattern."
Workshops are part of the plans and the proximity of several minority churches will make a faith-based initiative involving the workshops easier to implement.
"Our goal is to have four to six farmers; two to four vendors and anywhere from four to 10 artisans," he continued. "... That 12-foot paved walkway will be left open for the consumer. The stands, whether it be an artisan or farmer ... will all be facing that walkway so there's a market kind of environment that combines both safe and dry consumer access.
"Depending on some of the city's plans and the farmers' plans, we'll open the weekend of Memorial Day or the first weekend after and then run into, usually Memorial Day to Halloween is kind of the traditional brackets of the farmers market."
Krauza said marketing efforts will increase this year after a late start in 2012.
"We'll look to target some of the community organizations that cater to the low-to-mod or senior citizens. Part of our strength is we've got some grant applications and we're looking to do more of that for things like these workshops, transportation," he explained. "New York state has targeted farmers markets as a strategy for promoting healthy foods, particularly for the senior and low or mod population, so we are fairly confident there's going to be enough funding to support what we're already doing, as well as some sponsorships and things like that, to be able to properly support the market."
Entertainment, along with the workshops, will be scheduled.
"We'll use some strategic partners, things we used last year, but we'll expand," Krauza stated. "Wine tasting is a great example, or some particular highlight of a market product, where we try to draw based on that using marketing social media. ... Once we get them there we think the habit will form to take advantage of the market and all that it will offer."
Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak chairs the committee and said she was on board with the plan, as was Fourth Ward Councilwoman Stacy Szukala, who was unable to attend the meeting. Kiyak read from Szukala's list of concerns, who said she has approached Mayor Anthony J. Dolce about installing two grills and more picnic tables in the area of the market.
Krauza said there will be a market manager on site who may sell nutritional-type drinks, as promoting healthy eating habits is part of the state grants.
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