Reed City Chamber looks into farmers market expansion

Current organizers resistant to change

REED CITY — The Reed City Chamber of Commerce is looking to update and expand the local farmers market.

The chamber's proposal involves moving the location of the farmers market to the Depot and expanding it to include additional vendors.

“Anything to provide better exposure and opportunity in our city, I think is a great thing,” Mayor Roger Meinert said.

In a letter to city manager Ron Howell, chamber member Tricia Wirth said they had been contacted by someone who was interested in working with the chamber to make the farmers market “bigger and better.”

Wirth said the chamber had previously reached out to the current organizers of the farmers market in Reed City regarding moving it to the Depot, which would be a more visible location.

“For reasons that are still unclear to me, they wanted to stay where they are,” Wirth stated in the letter.

The current farmers market is located in the parking area next to Pompeii’s Pizza on Chestnut Street and is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

Wirth explained they would like to have the farmers market at the Depot on Sundays, so they are not in direct competition with the farmers markets in neighboring towns, and proposed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays, with the possibility of adding Wednesdays in the future.

"We have determined that we can easily fit up to 30 vendors in this location," she said.

Meinert added the chamber is being cautious not to overlap the existing farmers market and is not looking to run them out of town, but would like to work together with them to expand the farmers market and possibly relocate it.

“The current person in charge has been resistant to change and the embracing of new ideas,” Meinert said. “He does not want things to change. However, I don’t think that one person should be able to road-block something that could be an improvement for our community.”

“I think it would be best if we could all work together on this,” council member Trevor Guiles said. “If we have one on Saturday and a different one on Sunday, that is not going to be very beneficial.”

The chamber indicated they are willing to reach out to the person in charge of the existing farmers market to let them know they have someone who wants to work together with them to expand the event.

The chamber will need to get approval from the Department of Natural Resources to use the property near the Rails-to-Trails next to the Depot before they can proceed with their plans.

The consensus of the council was the chamber should move forward with their proposed plans and try to get those in charge of the existing farmers’ market to join together with them.