The Fort St. James Farmers’ Market Society were having its final sale of the year last week, and they were already looking to next year.
The group is looking for a permanent headquarters for the market, and was asking council to help them look at using Spirit Square, which was suggested in the past.
However, Spirit Square is not currently a suitable location as it is, because health codes would require a washroom facility and there would need to be some changes to allow for power and for vendors to drive in and out to unload their wares.
The original request from the market was for a grant-in-aid to hire a consultant to help examine the requirements for the site to be modified and the costs involved.
However, after discussion with the mayor and council, it was decided council would like to look into finding another possible site such as the past Chevron location.
“As a business-person in this small town the place to get your customers is where they’re out of their cars,” said Charlotte Croquet, president of the society.
This year, the market saw fewer visitors, simply due to the new location across the road from the post office and bank, according to Kandace Kerr of the society. On Fridays, with the heavy traffic, some customers may have been reluctant even to cross the street.
Parking is also an issue, as the properties next to Spirit Square are privately owned and if developed, would seriously decrease parking for the market.
Council has said it will look into the Chevron site and the society will revisit the issue at the end of November.
The lack of a permanent home for the summer was an issue for the group at the beginning of last year’s market season, finding a home for the season only one week before opening weekend.
The local market has grown from three regular vendors to now eight.
“I could see us growing more and more and we would like to get to the point where we have demonstrations happening all the time or entertainment,” said Croquet. “We have plans to grow ourselves and become more substantial.”