The Puyallup Farmers’ Market will be opening April 10, returning to Downtown Puyallup with safety precautions put in place. Coming into this season, vendors have reflected on how the last year has impacted their local businesses.
In 2020, the market was not able to open on time or in its usual location because of the pandemic. Late last spring, the farmers’ market moved to the South Hill Mall in order to meet safety guidelines. The market managers and staff were only allowed to permit the farmers’ market one week at a time. For the first few weeks that the market will be open in 2021, it’ll be held on 2nd and 3rd St. SE and between Main and Pioneer Street.
“It has been a challenge to keep the vendors going, to keep the shoppers happy and to keep functioning as a market but we’re doing it,” said the Puyallup Farmers’ Market Manager, Patty Villa.
During the market hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m, there will be specific rules that all customers need to abide by. These consist of social distancing, no eating or drinking in the market and no touching any displayed products. Additionally, service animals are the only pets allowed in the area during the market and there won’t be any entertainment or activities for shoppers to enjoy.
Furthermore, vendors will have strict rules to follow as well. They will fill out a COVID-19 questionnaire prior to coming to the market, sanitize their hands throughout the day and create barriers in order to maintain the six-foot distance from customers. Vendors will also set up their booth so that shoppers can see the products but can’t touch them.
To make sanitization effective, Bates Family Foods removed their decorative tablecloths in order to completely wipe down the surface. The Bates’ have taken advantage of vertical displays which captivate shoppers’ eyes while also keeping the product out of reach. Accordingly, vendors in the booths will frequently remind customers to keep the six-foot distance and not touch the items.
“I’m very, very happy the markets are going to open again. It will be nice to get back to some type of normalcy,” said Andrea Spooner, co-owner of Spooner Farms.
With the new safety protocols, small businesses were constricted with how they could share their product with customers. Noël Bates, a co-owner of Bates Family Foods, explained that the elimination of samples took a toll on their sales as a business in 2020. Looking back on the last year, vendors share that they have seen a decrease in customer purchases at the market but are thankful that it will be open for another year.
“Any farmers’ market is a vital part of a thriving business community [and] a thriving local economy,” said Bates, “Without those you don’t know where your money is going. Shop local, shop small and shop your farmers’ market because you will get all of that in one.”
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