Claire Battaglia wrote:Hi Merry,
I have helped to manage several farmers markets and have a few suggestions of things to think about:
1. Finding out (as much as possible) why people aren't going to the farmers market would be helpful. The best strategy for determining this is simply talking to as many people as you can. Ask why they don't go and what would motivate them to go.
2. Making the market a "place to be" can be really effective. Is there a way to get a local musician to play for an hour or so? Providing coffee (either by recruiting a dedicated coffee vendor or having current vendors take turns bringing some) and a comfortable place to sit and chat can be a great draw. A really small market can't compete w/ a supermarket in terms of diversity of product/quantity so it's helpful to think about what you offer that they can't. Usually this is quality of product, which you can (and should!) emphasize but this can also be experience. If you can make the market a nice place to spend an hour, where people can have a cup of coffee and chat and feel like they're a part of a community, they will come back (and bring their friends!).
3. Recruiting vendors can be helpful. I've found that a lot of people prefer to shop at the supermarket because they can get everything they need in one place. If your market is mostly vegetables, recruiting someone w/ eggs or meat could be a big selling point. Or, going back to the idea of making the market a place to be, having a coffee and/or baked goods vendor is always a draw.
These are just a few things that come to mind; the Farmers Market Coalition (https://farmersmarketcoalition.org/) is a great resource for market development and has a lot dedicated to increasing traffic.