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LETTER: Farmers' Market Layout Change Will Hurt Downtown Merchants

Campbell Patch encourages the Campbell community to share its voice, opinion and thoughts through letters to the editor.

 

Recently, the Santa Clara County Fire Department announced that the Downtown Campbell Farmers Market will return to its previous layout on Dec. 2 because of safety concerns.

We received several messages from residents and business owners about the issue. The following is a letter from downtown Campbell businesswoman Deb Rohzen, owner of Simply Smashing! Boutique.

This decision is a huge disappointment, and for the change to go into effect on Dec. 1, three weeks before Christmas, adds insult to injury for the downtown retailers.

As a DTC merchant for nearly twelve years, I participate in all community events on our avenue, and am all for the happiness of our local residents/customers. In fact, while closing the street every Sunday hurts my business, in general, I have continued to welcome the farmers market, just as long as they would allow equal exposure to the merchants, as to the market vendors.

That said, I am fed up with the downtown merchants ending up at the bottom of the totem pole when these situations arise. I realize I am putting my neck out to say this, but, if I had to make an all-or-nothing choice, I would choose for the farmers market to move elsewhere, rather than block our businesses again. At the end of the day, Downtown Campbell merchants need to count, at the very least, equally as much as the residents, farmers market goers, etc. We certainly pay more for rent, by far, than the farmers market.

In the five years that I have had farmers market booths blocking the front of my store, I lost business on Sundays, hands down. In the few months that we have enjoyed the new layout, my Sunday business has been up +/- 30%, and my walk-in traffic has been up 50+%. 

I believe this decision is a blow to most downtown retailers, and it is a crushing blow to my business. I have to believe that there are other options in terms of reconfiguring the market, that don't entail shutting business off to the open merchants.

Again. There are parking lots, side streets, loop streets - I am sure a compromise can be worked out. If the only choice to to have farmers market booths backed up to the curb, blocking my store again, I may well be forced to close my business on Sundays because, with the previous layout, I often paid more to run the store than was returned by customer sales during farmers market.

Yours truly unhappy, Deb

Bethany Curran November 17, 2012 at 11:16 PM
I agree with you Deb! As an active member of our community and part of the Campbell Patch Mom Squad, I have spent the past year getting to know the merchants, workers, and business owners of Campbell. I have come to see things from a new perspective now. Not only do I look at what is convenient for me, but what is truly good for our town and our local economy. I shop small and local when ever possible, I frequent our local restaurants, and I actively support our local businesses through what we share and support on our Mom Squad Facebook page and my own personal page. I don't see why it has to be one or the other. Surely there MUST be a another option. There are many side streets, parking lots, parks, and other options available. What about Orchard City Green (the area between Ainsley House, City Hall, and the Library), Campbell Park, Orchard City Dr, 1st St, or another option? The original layout doesn't work for the "brick & mortar" businesses, the new layout doesn't work for the Fire Dept, so how about a NEW option? Just makes more sense to me...
Steph November 20, 2012 at 02:32 AM
How can the art and wine festivals run with the booths in the middle? I've seen these festivals all over the county. Makes no sense that rge farmers market had to have a sifferent layout. We love the new layout. So sorry to see it go back to the original layout.

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