May 1, 2018 7:33 pm
Updated: May 2, 2018 7:16 am

Saskatoon Farmers’ Market lease is up for renewal

WATCH ABOVE: The lease is up at Saskatoon's farmers' market building. Meaghan Craig looks at what that means for businesses and consumers.

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It’s the anchor tenant at 414 Ave. B South and it’s currently in negotiations with the City of Saskatoon for a lease renewed in 2019.

Erika Quiring, who is operations manager with the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market, said all the details of the lease should be hammered out between a steering committee and the city in the next couple months.

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The venue will also be exploring a variety of ways to make its farm-to-fork business model even better.

“We’ve put a lot of effort to revamping what the farmers’ market has to offer,” Quiring said.

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In addition to the launch of this season’s outdoor food markets on Saturday, May 5 – rental rates have already been reduced for event space and a new art market will be held on Thursday nights to entice more visitors to the site.

“We’re looking to bring on additional tenants, we actually have a six-day-a-week coffee shop that’s opening up this week and Boryski’s has also moved in as well which is lovely,” Quiring added.

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For anyone looking for local vendors that make it, bake it, gather or grow it – you can find it at the farmers’ market. However, they are hoping to hear from the public in regards to what’s working and what isn’t.

“We’d like to see a little bit more of the presence daily and into the early evening to allow for people on their way home to stop by and pick things up,” said Randy Pshebylo, who is with the Riversdale Business Improvement District (BID).

“We have Parcel Y that will be inhabited here in another two years so it’s not just about today it’s about what’s coming.”

One Saskatoon resident who goes to the farmers’ market on occasion raved about the straight from the source options offered by the market but wasn’t sure the venue’s location drew in enough foot traffic.

“For the quality of the vegetables they definitely had that right and had a lot of vendors,” Kristy Cymbalisty said.

“For things wrong, I know they had a couple stores that were open every day and closed down so I don’t know if the location has enough walk-in traffic,”

Members of the public are now encouraged to provide their feedback to the farmers’ market via Facebook, by calling or just popping in.

The city wouldn’t provide a comment on the negotiations underway for another five-year lease.

Ward 2 Coun. Hilary Gough provided the following statement to Global News regarding the process.

“The city administration is working collaboratively with the farmers’ market through lease negotiations to explore business models that meet and balance the desires of the community and needs of local farmers/producers. I am supportive of this work.”

Whatever transpires in the meetings with the committee is then communicated back to the market’s elected board who then updates the vendorship.

“By examining what works and throwing out what doesn’t we will, I believe achieve a sustainable system that provides good support for all of these little businesses,” Quiring said.

Anything that will increase foot traffic and improve the overall customer experience provided by the anchor tenant is being considered including extending hours of operation and dramatic improvements to space management.

“I think the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market, its vendors, the city, the neighbhourhood, the community probably all want the same sort’ve thriving community space here,” Quiring remarked.

“That’s what we’re working towards collectively together so the farmers’ market is a better anchor and heart of the community.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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