Shop Local, Buy Local, Spend Local, Support Local…we hear all of these things all the time it seems. Local is the new buzzword. Shopping local has become trendy and popular. You see it in stores, on television, virtually everywhere. But does it ACTUALLY make a difference when you shop local? Everyone always tells you it matters where you spend your money, and we tell you that all the time. But why should you believe us? Lots of people tell you lots of things and sometimes it turns out not to be true or it’s some kind of stretched reality of the actual truth.
Trendy and popular is great only if it becomes an actual trend. To have a lasting shift in behaviour and thinking, is something quite different. Thankfully though, shopping local is an actual trend. People are caring more about where their food and goods come from, and they want to know who makes/grows them. It is beginning to be a movement and we are starting to see a measurable shift and for good reason. The impact you have when you shop local IS real and I am not talking from a Market(ing) standpoint, after all we are non-profit. We exist for our vendors and because of our vendors and community. What we do is for them and for you.
So instead of me telling you AGAIN, that where and how you spend your dollars makes a real difference, I’m going to share with you some of our vendor success stories. You know these people. If you shop at the Market, you see them every week.
These are your friends, your neighbours, your community. Actual. Real. People.
Before we start, let’s refresh a couple of important points for you to keep in mind as you read their stories.
- All vendors run their own businesses. The Market has a set of rules and regulations and policies that help us to operate smoothly. However, when it comes to the actual vendor and their busiest, that is all them. They have full control over their business.
- Vendors are at the Market for different reasons. Some are there as a hobby, some like to keep busy during retirement, some are using is as a business tool to test products, develop business models and launch into bigger arenas. For many it’s a livelihood or an important part of a livelihood and for others, it funds interests and the “extras”. Maybe next time you’re at the Market, ask a vendor why they sell at the Market. Trust me, it’s really interesting.
So knowing that, lets move on. We asked our vendors to submit their success stories. They want you to know that you make a difference. Your dollars spent at the Market have changed lives. No joke.
Here’s some stories (and there are more):
Bramble Hill Farm
2017 was a game-changing year for Bramble Hill Farm. Since starting at the New Glasgow Farmers Market in the spring of 2015, Cathy has felt encouraged and supported by amazing customers and fellow market vendors.
Throughout the last few years, as her business has grown, Cathy has focused on finding her ‘fresh niche’ and worked to offer fresh salad produce year-round. In the summer of 2017, Bramble Hill Farm ran a successful Kickstart campaign helping to raise the capital needed to build a 4-season greenhouse.
This expansion would not have happened if it weren’t for the generous support of market customers, family, friends and FarmWorks Investment Cooperative. What started as a micro-local dream of providing fresh salad to her community market here in New Glasgow; has become a reality of a flourishing business supplying wholesale and restaurant customers. In 2018 has expanded out to vend at city markets. It all started right here at home in Pictou County where Cathy always looks forward to greeting smiling market customers on a Saturday morning and offering the very best of her farm products. As Cathy put it, “Passion fuelled this dream but our community built it!”
Shree Curry Place
Vandana, Sam and son Dhruv are Shree Curry Place. They will tell you that they believe their biggest business success is the Farmers Market. “We consider the Farmers Market to be our main success. Because of the wonderful customers and their response at the Farmers Market, we gained the confidence to open the Food Truck.” “We see returning regulars, but there’s not a single Saturday we do not see lots of new people, who end up being regular shoppers at the Market.” This winter, you will find Shree Curry Place in the Market Kitchen with an expanded menu, including breakfast!
You may have caught a live Facebook video we did in November or December. As can happen, we had some technical issues and so we’re not sure whether you got to hear about Matt’s success story and if you did happen to catch it, it still warrants repeating. Matt operates The Spoonery. He hand crafts wooden spoons, cutting boards and his ever-popular BBQ scrapers among many other unique items. Like many of our vendors Matt worked full-time in addition to crafting his wares and vending them at the Market. During a casual conversation with Matt, he mentioned how he was enjoying retirement…clearly he picked up the puzzled and confused look on my face and then elaborated. Matt expressed that since he started at the Market, he has seen his business steadily increase and that 2017 was his best year to date. In fact, it was so good, Matt was able to realize his dream of leaving his job to focus solely on his craft. All because you supported by spending with him. Matt will be expanding into other endeavours with The Spoonery but his heart is at the Market, so you will see him back in the spring when we expand back into to two buildings!
Big Cove Foods
Many of you know Dave, Sarah (and now, baby Rex). They have been with the Market for several years and we have all watched them as they have grown their business. Not only do they sell at our Market, but they now sell online, opening a whole new world of possibilities for them. You can also catch them at Halifax Seaport Market occasionally.
“The market has been a great starting off point for our company and continues to be a great part of how we grow, as we get a very personal, one on one feedback back from our customers.
Creating ingredients that our customers can take home and become inspired to cook only enhanced our drive to keep on that path of making new and interesting products. When people return the following week to share what delicious things they made in their own kitchens using our products, that’s really what the farmers market is all about; a community inspiring and encouraging small businesses to keep going.
Thanks to the support of the New Glasgow Farmers Market, we were able to put all our focus on Big Cove Foods and continue to create new products out of our newly built commercial kitchen. An opportunity that would not have been available if it weren’t for the help of our community.” #supportsmallbusinesses
Small Holdings Farm
This season, we welcomed Keltie and Michael to the Market. They relocated to Pictou County to revitalize a farm that is now known as Small Holdings Farm. You may also recognize Keltie as the Exectutive Director of the Farmers Markets of Nova Scotia.
“This summer was our first season at the New Glasgow Farmers’ Market – in fact, it was our first summer owning our own farm. We truly looked forward to going to market each and every week and we are eagerly awaiting spring, when we’ll have tables of fresh vegetables once again. 20 years from now, when someone asks what our first season at the New Glasgow Farmers’ Market was like, I will smile and think of the day one of our regular customers brought us a jar of their homemade preserves. Thank you to the wonderful customers, vendors and staff that made us feel so welcome.”
Additionally, thanks to community/Market supporters like the Kilted Chef, several of our vendors have had the opportunity to promote their products on the ferry between Caribou and PEI. Vendors such as RoRo’s Hotsauce, Chapel Cove Chocolate, Big Cove Foods and Knotty Acres to name a few, have benefited from the extra exposure for their business and the opportunity to promote all the wonderful local products that come from right here in our own backyard!
So as you can see, you have made a real impact on real people. People have been able to pursue their dreams as a direct result of dollars being spent locally. This is happening all over our province and country. So wherever you are, visit your local Farmers Market and small local businesses. It is an important and necessary step to promoting a healthy, local economy in your community and contributes to the larger overall picture.
We will continue to share success stories with you, because a little great news goes a long way.
See you at the Market!