New farm market opening in Chase City

In a different era in America, people in rural areas made things. They had to. There were no “big box stores” where they could buy the multitude of things they needed in their daily lives.
Some people got extremely good at making particular things. Some people got very good at making jams and jellies, some at baking, others at raising vegetables, some at sewing. They got so good that they made more than their families needed and took the extra to sell at farmers markets.
Mecklenburg Supply in Chase City wants to bring something of that era back to this area and is starting a farmers market to give artisans and shoppers a place to get together. Speaking this week, Amanda Hendrick, market manager for the Southside Farm Market, explained the project.
“We are beginning a farmers market starting in April, and it will run until October,” Hendrick said. “It will be on Fridays from noon until 6 p.m. beginning on April 7.”
According to Hendrick, the market is looking for vendors.
“If somebody here in the area makes cutting boards or crochets blankets, we want those,” said Hendrick. “We’re trying to provide an opportunity for our community to buy locally grown products, products that are handmade or homemade. Anything that’s grown or made locally we’re looking to sell at our market.”
Hendrick said she and Christine Pennington were looking for ideas on how to promote local businesses and farmers.
“We have lots of local people who come in here buying seeds and vegetables to create their own gardens,” she said. “We wanted a way for our customer to be able to reach out to our community and provide the goods and wares that they’ve produced that we had somewhat of a part of. It’s giving back to the community.”
Hendrick said the decision to open on Fridays was carefully thought out.
“We decided on Friday from noon to six, and the reason we picked Fridays,” she said, “is because we have a lot of traffic that comes through here on Friday afternoon. Plus, with the camping season coming up, there are a lot of people heading down 92 to 360 to head on out, so we’re looking to bring that crowd in, and people who come from out of town to work can stop by on their way out of town.”
The Friday opening, she said, also works for the vendors.
“Opening on Friday also allows the vendors to participate in other local markets. If we pick Wednesday or Saturday,” said Hendrick, “they don’t get to go to other markets, so us opening on Friday allows them an extra day to sell their wares.”
The vendor fee is $10 for a 10 by 10 foot space, and vendors have to provide their table.
“We’re asking them to provide a table and a tablecloth,” said Hendrick. “We want it to be a nice, upscale farmers market. We don’t want folks to come and sell stuff out of the trunk of their car. It will be a booth. They can provide a tent if they would like, but they don’t have to have a tent.”
Vendors are required to fill out an application which they can get from Hendrick at Mecklenburg Supply in Chase City.
Vendors will have a chance to look around the facilities on March 24 when Hendrick hosts a vendors meeting.
“We’re going to have a vendor meeting here at Mecklenburg Supply, and that’s going to be at 4 p.m. on March 24,” she said. “The market area will be laid out there in the field. It will be laid out so they can see what the set up is going to be, what the booths will look like. We’re inviting them to come. They have to provide any applicable license or insurance at that time because I have to keep track of them. We can answer any questions that they might have.”
Plans are for the market to open at noon on April 7.
“We’ve having a big grand opening,” said Hendrick. “The extension office has graciously provided a booth for that day. We’re trying to work hand in hand with them to have activities promoted throughout the season, so from April 7 through Oct. 6 on Fridays we’re going to have programs. We’re going to have different types of activities for kids, for adults, all to promote locally grown items and to promote our shop local initiative that we’re trying to boost here.”