Marion farmers market has potential to grow


Staff writer

Vendors, customers, and organizers didn't have many expectations for Marion's first farmers market. But the satisfaction was high.

Melissa Parmley is on the Marion Chamber of Commerce retail sales committee. She said, "We were happy with it. We think it will continue to grow."

With garden produce not quite ready yet this season, vendors used the space to sell other items.

Parmley said, "There were lots of people looking for produce so as soon as that comes in it will make a huge difference."

The committee organized a farmers market to try to draw people into town. "We just think it's a way to get people into town and hopefully while they're here they'll shop the other businesses."

Vendor turnout for the first market was satisfactory. There were four vendors, each with unique items. The products included homemade jam, crocheted items, plants, and handmade carvings.

Karen Ehrlich crochets items for her downtown shop, Down on the Corner. She brought some of her items to the market. Ehrlich has been making things for the past 30 years. She said, "I didn't expect much. People have to get used to the idea. I want people to come by and look and come back and buy next time." Ehrlich said she would definitely be attending the next farmers market in two weeks.

Darlene Carlson from Lincolnville had plants available. She said she also has taken her items to the Hillsboro farmers market. She thought the location for the market in Marion was good because of the grocery store being next door.

Carlson is a retired occupational therapist. "I hope to be here next time. I will bring plants as they bloom. It's a hobby."

Eugene Enos had some of his hand-carved items for sale. It was his first appearance at a farmers market. He said he wasn't sure if he'd be back for the next market. "Most of my sales are by word of mouth. I don't anticipate many sales and I don't know if I'll come back. It takes a lot of time for not much money."

Parmley said something unique about the Marion farmers market is that they allow people with antiques to come and set up a booth. "If someone has a table of baseball cards or a table of antiques they can come." She said a Coca-Cola collector will be attending June 28.

Booth rental is $5 each week and the market runs from 8 a.m. to noon every second and fourth Saturday of the month. Breakfast will be served. Parmley said if a group wants to serve breakfast they can contact her. "It's a great fund-raiser."

Although it was the first time for the market in Marion, it was successful in the eyes of the committee.

Parmley said, "I think everyone who was there didn't have high expectations because they knew it was the first time, but they all ended up leaving happy."