By David Pattenaude, from www.petroliatopic.com The Petrolia Topic
A report on The Petrolia Farmers’ Market, which operated for a second full season in its new permanent location next to the Petrolia Library, shows the market is a valuable contributor to the local economy and social fabric.
In her 2011 annual report, market co-ordinator Sandy Mason said the market has “…quickly become a viable asset that touches on all aspects of life in the community. With about 32,500 visitors over a 22-week period in 2011, we can estimate a $1 million dollar boost to the local economy.”
Some 22 per cent of 2011 market visitors were from outside Petrolia. That was two per cent more from 2010. Overall weekly attendance declined a bit from 2010, when the market averaged 1,550 customers per week; compared with 1,475 per week in 2011.
Estimates from weekly sales place the total vendor revenue for the market at just over $150,000 for the 2011 season. Four vendors were new to the market in 2011 and the 29 vendors (19 full-time and 10 part-time) contributed an estimated $55,000 to economic growth in the community with the purchase of supplies, materials and seasonal labour. Ten new seasonal jobs were created as a direct result of the 2011 market.
Mason’s report said the market continues to be an asset to the town and is playing an important role in the town’s goal to increase tourism and encourage community involvement.
The market — held Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 12 noon — held a number of special events last year, including a Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital 100th anniversary celebration, community barbecues, scrapbooking, meetings, chainsaw carving exhibition, reptile shows, a Canada Day ball hockey event, and a barn dance.
For 20 of the market’s 22 weeks, there was a variety of entertainment — which is a valuable part of the market’s overall success, said Mason.
Overall, the third year of the market was a success, she said, with sales and attendance maintaining a strong average throughout the season. The market’s first season, in 2009, was held inside the Greenwood Recreation Centre.
“Feedback from shoppers continued to be positive,” said Mason. “Regulars who shopped weekly not only enjoyed fresh produce and meat, crafts, and baked goods, they also enjoyed the social aspect, talking and relaxing with fellow residents either in the Kerr Cafe building or outside on picnic tables.”
Local public service groups and service clubs fundraised and built community awareness at the market and a weekly lottery draw contributed about $4,000 to local charities.
At council’s Jan. 3 meeting, Petrolia community services director Dave Menzies said the market has driven more people to the Petrolia library, which now opens an hour earlier on Saturdays because of market visitors, he said.
Petrolia librarian Kim Frijia told The Petrolia Topic the library used to be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. but because of the market opening earlier, people were around at the library doors — and she added “…it made perfect sense to open an hour earlier and accommodate these people. It’s wonderful and a good mix of people and programs.”
The library is now open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
IF YOU GO:
The Petrolia Farmers’ Market will tentatively open for a 22-week, 2012 season on May 26 and close on Oct. 20. The market will be held Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 12 noon.
Petrolia Article ID #3432625