17th & E. Main Farmers Market Area

50 N 17th St, Richmond, VA 23219, USA

unresolved

Posted 44 months ago

The City wants to hand off the Farmers Market site to some other entity to operate and maintain.  This prospect begs the question:  what use(s) and improvements need to be made to this area including the one way- paired 17th Street streets abutting the market site?  Given the fact that the City has proven it is unable and unwilling to make this property contribute to a neighborhood with many successful small business enterprises, it should only give it up to an appropriate organization once a successful and sustainable program for its future is flushed out.

Any ideas to make it a viable and contributing part of the Bottom?

Project Owner

jjm2

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carrie_helen

#14 carrie_helen on August 09, 2011

I actually used to sell jewelry at this market, but I stopped going b/c the market traffic wasn't busy enough for me justify the time I spent there. I always really enjoyed it, but the money just wasn't there.

James_Shelton32

#13 James_Shelton32 on August 08, 2011

I feel this should be a neighborhood organization. Sustainable East End Development should be on this project. Church Hill People's news know people to be involved. Tricycle Gardens would be another good group to contact. This should NOT be a for profit company. This Space needs to be available for any local sustainable farmer to sell goods, not one more place to unload inferior corporate merchandise. This also needs to be a public space where residents can meet and associate without being told they are on private property. This needs to remain a public place for all Richmonders.

#12 UPDATE on August 05, 2011: MaryFramer edited [In 2009 George Bolos came on as Market manager. In 2010 his staff was cut (basically he is a one man show now) and his hands were pretty much tied as too creating any real growth for the market. The market vendors association is active but small. Having personal contact with both George and the association most recently at Art in the Bottom and over the past 3 years, I have heard first hand, their frustration with lack of city support. They care very much for the market but are at a loss. New neighborhood markets are doing well and everyone is happy for them, but many of the "grower or artisan of quality" vendors have left 17 for these markets. The crowds are down and that means fewer eyes on vendor products. I'm sure that is why many are selling their wares elsewhere at this point. It's a "catch 22". Rick Tatnall has been the latest warrior on the streets talking up the Market and Shockoe overall. http://www.wtvr.com/news/wtvr-replemish-richmond-looks-to-restore-17rg-street-farmers-market-group-looks-to-revamp-richmond-landmark-20110707,0,5698624.story I attended the meeting and a lot of good ideas came up. Rick is also preparing for a four Friday night course of events next month in the turning basin and Market right now. The problem as I see it is a unified direction and city attention. There are many organizations and talented planners, etc. that have great, viable ideas (I like comment #4 -David's idea by the way). We just need to find a way to them get together. ]

MaryFramer

#11 MaryFramer on August 05, 2011

In 2009 George Bolos came on as Market manager. In 2010 his staff was cut (basically he is a one man show now) and his hands were pretty much tied as too creating any real growth for the market. The market vendors association is active but small. Having personal contact with both George and the association most recently at Art in the Bottom and over the past 3 years, I have heard first hand, their frustration with lack of city support. They care very much for the market but are at a loss. New neighborhood markets are doing well and everyone is happy for them, but many of the "grower or artisan of quality" vendors have left 17 for these markets. The crowds are down and that means fewer eyes on vendor products. I'm sure that is why many are selling their wares elsewhere at this point. It's a "catch 22". Rick Tatnall has been the latest warrior on the streets talking up the Market and Shockoe overall. http://www.wtvr.com/news/wtvr-replemish-richmond-looks-to-restore-17rg-street-farmers-market-group-looks-to-revamp-richmond-landmark-20110707,0,5698624.story I attended the meeting and a lot of good ideas came up. Rick is also preparing for a four Friday night course of events next month in the turning basin and Market right now. The problem as I see it is a unified direction and city attention. There are many organizations and talented planners, etc. that have great, viable ideas (I like comment #4 -David's idea by the way). We just need to find a way to them get together.

wildheavenfarm

#10 wildheavenfarm on August 05, 2011

With a different manager every year for six year, one of whom seemed deliberately hell-bent to ruin the market, it's any wonder the market lasted as long as it did. At one point, I even formed a non-profit analogous to the Byrd Theater's to raise money for advertising, attractive programs and customer amenities, but simply hit too much opposition.

Project Owner

#9 jjm2 on August 05, 2011

To my recollection, the deed covenant for the17th Farmers Market property remains in place so a farmers market use has to be either the primary use or part of the use mix. After the Parks Dept. supervision (quite a long time ago), City Hall has demonstrated no capacity to effectively orchestrate and sustain the market use. It is dead space in the visible commercial heart of the Bottom

wildheavenfarm

#8 wildheavenfarm on August 05, 2011

The property was purpose-deed to the city to be a farmers market. It would take some maneuvering to be able to use it otherwise. Having been a vendor there in its heyday, when every stall was filled by a grower or artisan of quality, I would like to see it reinvigorated as a farmers market, which seems feasbile with all the residential development on the surrounding blocks over the last few years.

Project Owner

#7 jjm2 on August 03, 2011

RVA Business, Thanks for your thoughts on the 17th Street Market and suggestions for successful operators. If you look at David's comments, there is sentiment that the facility should be a mix of uses including the farmers market use. The challenge is to define a compatible set of uses which can be organized in a revised structure and site that compliments this very visible part of Schockoe Bottom and is economically sustainable business venture for the private entities involved.

rvabusiness

#6 rvabusiness on August 03, 2011

Whoops, I didn't notice there were already comments (first time participating here!). At least it wasn't completely off track. Sounds like a similar sentiment has been expressed already.

rvabusiness

#5 rvabusiness on August 03, 2011

Why not bring in someone to consult or take over, like Karen Atkinson from The Market Umbrella (who has several successful farmers markets in RVA -- http://www.themarketumbrella.com/ ) or Peter Francisco (who has Lakeside Farmers Market, also very successful)?