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Farmer's Market Expansion Lambasted

Shop owners attacked a plan to expand the weekly event onto Sixth Street.

 

Old Town business owners denounced a plan to expand the during a meeting today.

Several merchants stood before a podium in the and told the that the weekly event steals their customers.

The council gave the market the go-ahead to expand onto Sixth Street in October. To read about it,.

Some of the stands at the market offer the same goods available in permanent shops elsewhere in Old Town, said Evelyn Honea, the owner of Temecula House of Jerky.

One vender sells beef jerky at the Farmers Market, she said. "I find it very disheartening you would allow this kind of business," she told the council.

The Farmer's Market signed a deal with the city forbidding it from selling goods that compete with local merchants.

The market regularly breaks that deal, said Stephen Eldred, who runs a photography business in Old Town.

"We shouldn't reward somebody who continuously breaks their contract… by letting them expand using city funds," he told the council.

This is not the first time local shopkeepers raised these concerns. They denounced the event in 2007 when the council considered installing ballards on Sixth and Mercedes streets in case the market ever expanded.

"I specifically brought up the concerns you're hearing tonight about the Farmers Market," said Craig Puma, the owner of and a member of the Old Town Temecula Association, which advocates for the local store owners.

City leaders were unaware of the alleged contract violations, but the staff inspects it weekly to ensure it complies, said Councilmember Jeff Comerchero.

"We want to make sure the Farmers Market is operating in accordance with its contract," he said.

He asked the city staff to check on the critics' claims and report to the council.

"We've got to know what the facts are," he said. "I'm especially disturbed about… a beef jerky vender. Unless they're making it by hand, they shouldn't be there."

Diane Walden June 02, 2012 at 08:26 PM
As 25-year Temecula residents with a 4-year-old local business, we would love to be in Old Town but cannot find a space as yet. I'm looking forward to it, as the Farmer's Market's, health-oriented demographic/shopper is perfect for our organic loose leaf teas and freshly brewed beverages. We've been in a hidden location in a local plaza for 4 years now and wish there WAS a Farmer's Market in our plaza every weekend for foot traffic! If any of the merchants there would like to trade spaces with us, just let me know! :) ..Diane Walden, California Tea & Coffee Brewery
stef June 02, 2012 at 09:40 PM
I've haven't been to the Farmer's Market in over 6 mos., because it's more swap meet than farmer oriented. Expansion is good because It's currently overcrowded with vendors and, thus, too many people to get around (fire hazard?). If you want to slow down to see a vendor, you're holding up the people behind you. Maybe keep the non-farmers (including massages, caricatures, ...) on Sixth Street, and farmers in the current parking lot.
todd January 25, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Katinka: You express your concerns quite well.
todd January 25, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Great marketing plan. We do visit you often and usually on Farmer's Market day, too. You have product that people want to buy and you present it very well. It is fun to come to your shop.
David Four Feathers January 31, 2013 at 05:14 PM
Four Feathers Hi Linda: I'm one of those guys that is a vet, I am a senior and semi disabled and have been on that waiting list for at least 2 to 3 years. I have known you from other venues and know you to be fair and just as a person and business person. All my products, Native American styled Silver work and hand carved Canes and walking sticks are strictly "hand crafted!" I still have not had the opportunity to sell at the market. Thank you for stepping up about who we are as vendors. 95% of us are hardworking and honest people who need to subsidize whatever incomes we have. I have only my social security and whatever pension I have from teaching (which isn't much) to depend on. I have never been a Carni nor a Gypsy!!! I know at least one store owner and a previous store owner that has left Old Town because of the constant irrational in-fighting. Maybe I will never make it in to the market but thank you for clearing up some stereotypical BS. We as vendors support our local governments and societal issues the same as Store owners. If a store owner is intimidated by a guy in a booth, maybe he/she should take a long look in the mirror and find out why! Is it your product, your customer service, or what is it that is causing failure in your business. Yes, the economy is hard on all of us, but we all have the right to make a living!!! Monopoly has never been allowed here! Hitch up your belts, and help versus hindering!!! David Four Feathers

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