On July 15 downtown Campbell Farmers' Market goers experienced something different: .
The layout took from having shoppers funneled down the middle of Campbell Avenue, with vendors' booths' back to the existing downtown shops to a new layout where vendors were placed in the center of the Avenue, back to back and facing the downtown shops.
The surrounding the Campbell Farmers' Market on Sundays and the began early this year with merchants wanting to have equal visibility during the popular market.
The Downtown Campbell Farmers' Market in the Orchard City so striking a balance was key to this change.
On Sunday, crowds walked easily through the two corridors created by the new layout and shoppers loaded up their bags.
"We loved it," says Frances Medalen. "I love that we're not crammed into a small space and have to shimmy through."
Medalen and her husband John were at the Farmers' Market and said that the only thing they'd suggest to organizers was to offer up a courtyard or patio of sorts to sit and eat so that market-goers wouldn't have to sit on the curbs in order to eat their newly-purchased goodies.
"I loved it too," says Donna Campbell, another market-goer. "It feels less crowded. I'm surprised that it took so long to figure it out. It's a huge improvement. "
Her husband, Jim Campbell agreed.
"It directs traffic better," he says. "People aren't crossing back and forth."
The group said that the experience was a cooler one as well.
"It wasn't so hot!" Donna Campbell says.
Other market shoppers agreed.
"It was well organized," Joyce Abramo says. "We enjoyed it. Campbell is doing a good job."
Both organizers and the shopper Campbell Patch spoke with felt concerns over the abundance of dogs at the market.
"Dogs aren't allowed," said Urban Village Executive Director Ron Pardini. " It's a State Health code."
He and staff were out letting market-goers know that their four-legged companions were only allowed on the sidewalks and not in the street near the food.
"They've been very cooperative," Pardini says.
One farmers' market shopper echoed his concern over the dogs downtown.
"I like that the market has been extended and I like dogs, don't get me wrong," Arlette Zaragoza says. "But before, dogs were on the sidewalks and the booths had their backs to them. Now, the dogs walk right up to the food. I don't appreciate that they have their mouths near the food I'm going to buy."
Vendors also had their pros and cons about the new layout.
Happy Boy Farms across from said that this was the first day and that setup will need to be refined but they expect that not to be a problem in a few weeks.
"We did see that we moved more product," an employee says. "We had more room and more people could fit into the booth. I like it."
Montebello Farms also noticed more space and movement around their stand near Cafe Campbell.
"We had more customers and there was better flow," Guadalupe Aguilar says. "It wasn't as crowed but people were a little lost. They didn't know where we were."
The vendors have been a farmers' market staple for the last six years and used to be located closer to Railway Avenue so the change of spot had some customers thinking they weren't there anymore.
Market organizers did, however have two sandwich boards up at the market with a breakdown of all the vendors and their locations.
"I'm sure that with time, things will get better and people will know where to find us, but there should be additional signage to help them out," Aguilar says.
The results of July 15th's debut were mixed, according to organizers but it's only the beginning.
"Overall, it was a good turn out," Pardini says. "Setup was smoother than we anticipated but talk to me after take-down."
Market staff agreed.
"It's a mixed bag," says Bianca Pardini, Urban Village office manager. "People are very passionate; either they hate it or they love it. At the end of the day, we want to do what our customers want because they support our vendors."
Questionnaires were being offered to market-goers for a chance to chime in with their thoughts. .
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