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Farmers’ market members enjoyed winter sales surge

Sales at the 2014 Estevan Farmers’ Market exceeded those of 2013 by more than $12,000 thanks to a doubling of indoor Christmas season receipts.
farmers market
The Estevan Farmers' Market had to find a new location for their indoor winter sales run in 2014 and saw a big increase to sale during those weeks.

Sales at the 2014 Estevan Farmers’ Market exceeded those of 2013 by more than $12,000 thanks to a doubling of indoor Christmas season receipts.

Market manager Patricia Thompson said that when the market closed its outdoor season  last fall, overall sales were down by about $4,000 compared with 2013 numbers.

But a huge hike in sales volume during the four Saturday sales prior to Christmas, allowed the market to register an impressive hike in overall vendor income.

The market moved into the Estevan Shoppers Mall main concourse for the four Saturdays leading up to Christmas. In previous seasons they had found a home at the Exhibition Hall, but this past winter that facility had already been rented for weekend activities, so the market needed to find a new home. Since they had already enjoyed a solid working relationship with the Shoppers Mall and its management, with their outdoor parking lot markets that generally begin in early May and windup in mid-October, Thompson said they approached them to see if space could be found inside the mall for the Christmas run. They did, with only one adjustment having to be made to encompass the mall’s annual lunch with Santa.

“We had phenomenal Christmas sales at the mall,” said Thompson.

The winter season sales that totaled $32,324 in 2013 in the previous location, soared to $64,083 in their new home.

“The Christmas season sales saw a good turnout of vendors and shoppers,” said Thompson. “There was one little slightly downward tic and that was on the Black Friday/Grey Cup weekend, so that would just be expected.”

The market manager said the mall management ensured there would be no direct conflict regarding market products and goods being sold by the mall retail leaseholders, and it appeared as if the two entities were able to enjoy the dual benefits of the additional traffic and merchandise selections.

As a result of the increased sales, Thompson said the $4,000 deficiency in sales volumes from the spring and summer sales, turned into a $12,000 gain.

“After the summer season, total sales in 2014 were $242,064 compared with just over $246,000 in 2013. But with the extra $32,000 coming in at Christmas, our total for the entire year came to $306,147 compared with $274,070 in all of 2013,” Thompson said.

The manager attributed the slight slump in outdoor market sales to some erratic weather situations that made it a challenge on some Saturdays. Some of those weekend days started with high winds or cold temperatures and the season also ended with some challenging conditions. There were some similar circumstances witnessed in 2013, but 2014 proved to be just as challenging, if not more so. Even with the last minute cancellations of some vendors due to weather conditions, the outdoor markets averaged between 15 and 20 vendors each Saturday with the high points being the periods in early July and throughout August.

The market members are now focused on their annual general meeting coming up on March 11 at 7 p.m., which will be held in the main concourse of the Estevan Shoppers Mall.

“There will be a few items that will require some votes. There are some terms on the executive that are concluding, so there could be changes there,” she said, noting that veteran marketer Lynda Dunbar served as the market president last season.

Thompson said an ongoing contract with the mall has been confirmed for the outdoor market season once again, which will place the farmers’ market on the east side of the mall parking lot, close to the Tim Hortons retail outlet. She said the members will be asked to make their preferences known regarding the indoor locations for the winter events. 

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