We are just a few days away the from opening the Market for the 2018 winter season. We thought it was a good time to look back at where we’ve been for 2017. Being that you have shown your support for us, we figure it’s only fair that we tell you what we’ve done as a result of your support and encouragement.
We had a lot going on in 2017! Early in the year, we received a grant from the Pictou County Health Authority to put toward a community garden. We got a group of vendors together to form a community garden committee to figure out how to make the most of the funds. As we sat down to our first meeting in late May, we opened a letter informing us that we had received a generous sum of money as part of the 150 Forward Fund from the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. This was a game changer! We were able to come up with a more comprehensive plan and wanted to get it all done by July 1 in time for Canada’s 150th. This was a massive undertaking in a short time. This year, our committee will be looking at ways we can maintain the garden and how to keep it going. Read more about the community garden here.
We held two large fundraising events. The first was our annual dinner, this year it was Dinner By the River. We could not have anticipated its success and the event sold out in minutes! It was fantastic to sell out, but wished we could have accommodated everyone. We had such a great vision of having people dine by the river, but of course, Mother Nature did not co-operate as we were on the heels of a tropical storm and the rains came down in sheets. We quickly adapted and moved the Dinner inside. With a lot of help from our friends, we transformed the Market into an elegant space for 175 guests and musicians! Guests enjoyed an elegant 3 course meal by Pantry Kitchen Catering while listening to sweet jazz tunes by Men About Town. Later, with the help of Market supporter Mike Vinneau and the great production of Hoss Tec Sound, the dome was turned into an intimate concert venue where
amazing local musical talent took the stage. The Kitchen Criminals, Hot Mess and Pistol Packin’ Papas kept people dancing until the wee hours of the morning! Despite the weather, a ton of fun was had by all! We are looking forward to this years event where we are aiming to double capacity to host a full entertainment experience at our first ever, Luau at the Market!
The second event was our first ever All Hallow’s Ball! We asked people to dress in their best costumes and our guests did not disappoint! We had some AH-MAZING costumes! We had Market prizes for the top 3 costumes. Guests were treated to spooktacular foods from our friends at Smokinstein who came up from Halifax to join us. We had more local music rock the house! We were joined for the first time, by Marigold and then Market supporters and always loved Mike and the MacPherson’s and the Leah and Kyle Collective were with us and all of them in great costumes!
The party was such a success that we’ve been convinced to do it again! So mark October 20th, 2018 on your calendars for this years event, Nightmare on Glasgow Street!
Both of these events were part of our fundraising plan. For those who aren’t familiar, the Market is a non-profit organization run by a volunteer board and full-time Market Manager and volunteers. We are home to 70 fabulous vendors who are all entrepreneurs and small business people composed of farmers, food producers and artisans. We offer them a low-cost place to do business every Saturday. The Market relies on tables fees, fundraising and grants in order to operate. Additional fundraising includes our 2 annual gift baskets, our monthly 50/50 draw and the ATM. Two dollars of the transaction fee from the ATM comes back to the Market which directly helps the Market and it’s vendors.
While the Market operates independently and is financially solvent, we get by with help from our friends! That means vendors, customers and community partnerships. We value an important working partnership with the Town of New Glasgow and work closely with the Department of Community Economic Development who was instrumental in securing the 150 Forward Fund grant for the Community Garden this year. We are thankful for the ongoing encouragement and support that the Town of New Glasgow shows us.
We also receive support the Municipality of Pictou County in the form of a grant. This year with their help, we were able to purchase new tents to provide our outdoor vendors. We thank them for their ongoing support and important contribution.
With the proceeds from fundraising, we were also able to give the dome kitchen a makeover of sorts. New tile floors were laid and much-needed new appliances were purchased. Another special project was a portable stage and this deserves special mention. This stage was designed and built by avid Market supporter Mike Vinneau. He donated his time to build a stage that out musicians can use for our events. This is a cost saving measure and saves rental fees, making our fundraisers that much more successful. When not in use, they can be moved or reconfigured for many types of uses and events. In fact, you may remember, some of your vendors were elevated for part of the season. That’s because they were on top of this portable stage. This is something we’ll be able to use for years to come and countless events. We thank you, Mike!
We also added seating in the way of new Adirondack chairs and convertible picnic tables and benches. We will be investing in some seeds and other needed touches on the community garden in the spring as well as some other cosmetic enhancements to the dome. All of these things we are able to do because of your support!
Also very important to the success of the Market and its operations, are our weekly volunteers. They lend a helping hand to our Market Manager and our vendors, not to mention our events and general operations. They are fun and personable and there are not really enough words to express our thanks and gratitude.
We don’t have pictures of all of them and we have many that come through our doors, but we would like to give special thanks to regular volunteers Rhonda, Christopher, Jennifer, Colin, Stacey, Maxine, Kelly-Rae, Kaleb, Mike, Pat, Noah, Colleen and the list goes on.
This year, the Market enjoyed increased traffic all season long. Our spring season saw a 60% increase in traffic, while we enjoyed a 23% increase during the peak season, on some weeks with as much as a 50% increase and overall traffic annual increase of more than 15%. That means, we had more community visitors and tourists visiting us throughout the year and growth is a good thing! We increased the number of vendors, you may have noticed that many of them join us on an occasional basis and we welcomed some new weekly vendors in 2017 as well. We are thrilled to welcome new vendors as space allows.
This year we were also thrilled to win the Leadership in Business award from the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce! This is a big deal for us! We try very hard to achieve growth and be a part of our community while working for our vendors. As an anomaly in business community, we don’t really fit in any kind of category so we were honoured to be included among so many other well deserving local businesses. We will continue work hard and provide a great place for our community, its citizens and many entrepreneurs.
Like many of you have done or will be doing, we will be sitting down to make our goals for 2018. We are looking forward to another fantastic year and we hope to see you every week. Don’t forget that we will be open every Saturday from 9am until 1pm from January 13th 2018 straight through until December. We will share with you all of our special dates as soon as we have them.
Over the next day or two, we will share with you our year in photos, special events for the coming year (which you can already find under the event section of our Facebook page) and we want to share with you additional successes including our vendor successes as well.
We thank you for you ongoing support and can’t wait to see you this Saturday!
See you at the Market!