Following management and organization complications, the Sparwood Market continued with its regular scheduling on Friday, July 3 in the district.
Organizing issues arose when former Farmer’s Market Society member, and market founder, Amy Cardozo ended the market due to what Cardozo felt was a lack of support from the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce and the district’s staff.
“Being a person who very much believes in creating solutions, not problems, we need a chamber who cares about their members and goes out of their way to help [them], not cause hindrance. We need our district to support our local small businesses,” wrote Cardozo in a post to the Sparwood Farmer’s Market Facebook page, dated June 29.
Cardozo described her experiences with requiring approval for board signs, a lack of follow through in assistance from the district in booking live music and the district providing former Farmer’s Market vendors with a competing business license external to the market.
Sparwood Chamber of Commerce Manager Norma McDougall refuted Cardozo’s claims, particularly that of the gate opening for vendors to set up for the market’s 4 p.m. start time.
“A major issue was what time we would open the gate. We felt as a chamber we didn’t want to open the gate until 3 p.m. because we had to think about the safety of tourists around the Titan Truck. People were coming in earlier and earlier to set up and get there first to obtain shady spots. For us, we couldn’t have trucks backing in and out when we have little kids and tourists around the truck,” explained McDougall.
A day following Cardozo’s post and e-mails to market vendors cancelling the summer series (June 30), a reborn Sparwood Market Facebook page was created by current Sparwood Market co-chairs Tracy Kaisner and Jen Gardiner.
According to Gardiner and McDougall, it was a scramble to get the second market ready in time following Cardozo’s departure.
“It was a surprise for us that she was leaving,” said Gardiner, “but we want to thank Amy, the founder, for all the hard work she did when she was involved with the market. We’re still excited to move forward and we’ll try to make some changes, including new vendors as well as bigger and better live music.”
Gardiner added, “We feel really good about the market moving forward and we have a ton of support from the district and chamber.”
McDougall concurred, saying, “I think everyone came together really well last Tuesday [June 30] between district staff and chamber staff as well as the existing two members of the market. I think that was wonderful.”
On Tuesday, July 7, Kaisner and Gardiner met with McDougall to discuss future plans for the market.
“The Chamber of Commerce has always been here to assist with the market and we always want to do whatever we can to make sure it’s a go,” said McDougall.
According to McDougall, the chamber has offered to pay for live music at the market for the next two to three weeks as well as pay for four new sandwich board signs to be made.
The Chamber of Commerce will also be joining the lineup of tents at the market and will serve as a type of information centre for the market.
The Sparwood Market will continue for the rest of the summer until September 4, every Friday night from 4-8 p.m.