Farmers market holds 10th annual meeting

Group looks forward to expansion plans
Tim Ryan,

Volunteers and vendors who keep the Shawano Farmers Market running each year gathered Thursday for their 10th annual meeting amid expansion plans and hopes for seeing the market grow in the coming years.
“Ten years ago, I don’t know that we envisioned this day,” said Bob Dumke, vice president of the market’s board of directors. “In that time, we have seen tremendous growth and support of the market.”
The market, which used to occupy the parking lot at City Hall, moved to Franklin Park three years ago.
The first phase of expansion of Franklin Park is set to get underway early next week, while further development will depend on an advisory referendum Tuesday. The first phase is expected to be complete by the time the market opens in June.
“We’re very grateful for the substantial support we have gotten throughout the years from the city of Shawano, which has allowed us to build one of the finest markets in the area,” Dumke said.
“Part of the vision of the market is to reach out to local farmers and crafters and area people to present their products to the public in the hope of pursuing a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “It’s a collaborative thing where people learn from each other, share with each other and benefit from that collaboration.”
Dumke thanked in particular the vendors who, he said, were more responsible for the market’s success than its board of directors.
Dumke said the board’s goals in the coming years include expanding the market’s volunteer base, broadening the number and variety of vendors and finding new funding resources.
The market’s expenses in 2016 were about $10,500, according to market treasurer Jennifer Langlois. Revenue was roughly $12,800.
“A good chunk of that was vendors fees, but also had some very large donations,” she said. “The goal is to decrease reliance on donations and hopefully make this thing run on its own.”
The market is expecting $13,000 in expenditures this year, with much of that increase due to higher insurance costs.
Langlois said revenue is expected to be about the same as last year.
“Hopefully, it will be up it a little bit,” she said.
One person at the meeting asked whether there was any chance of limiting vendors that sell the same products, particularly when it comes to produce. She said two vendors have quit the market because the competition was reducing their profits.
Dumke said the board had discussed that issue, but didn’t feel it had the right to favor one vendor over another.
He said all vendors are welcome if space is available and they fit the qualifications.
“It becomes a market force situation, where those who are doing well will do well. If not, they have to make a decision,” Dumke said. “You have to find a way to work through that. Sometimes you find other things to offer and a way to be successful.”