There was a new location and the funding was in place.
But there wasn’t the vendor interest to try a second year of the Keizer Sunday Market. As such, the farmers market will not be happening in 2014.
Salem Saturday Market officials started the Keizer market last year at Chalmers Jones Park behind the Keizer Civic Center on Chemawa Road N. By the end of the year, the market was only averaging about 15 vendors each week.
Market director Lisa Sherman and Tina Schneider, the former Salem Saturday Market board member who helped launch the market, both confirmed the board voted unanimously last week to not hold a market in Keizer this year.
“They decided we weren’t going forward with the Keizer
unday Market,” said Schneider, who in particular thanked Keizer City Councilor Cathy Clark for her help in launching the market a year ago.
“Only 14 vendors were willing to participate,” Sherman said. “With the number at 14, that is not a viable option for sustainability. That’s not surprising, based on last year’s results.”
Schneider said that was even after vendors were told about the Whiteaker Middle School parking lot on Lockhaven Drive being secured as a new location.
“We had gotten approval to use it,” she said. “That was a huge factor. Money was another factor. We had those two things in place. The last thing we had to decide was, ‘Do we have enough vendors?’”
As it turned out, the answer was no.
“Absolutely it was disappointing,” Schneider said. “We had high hopes. We didn’t go into it as a one-and-done deal, we were going into it for the long term.”
Schneider said had the Whiteaker site been used last year, “we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.”
After the 2013 market season concluded, Schneider pointed to the limited visibility of using the space behind city hall. There were other issues as well.
“It’s a beautiful place to have a market,” she said. “But part of the negative was the loading and unloading. It was hard to get close to it. Having to go a distance drags on you. The (Lakepoint Community Church) also had a service there on Sunday so parking was an issue. There was also the visibility: we had none. I can’t even tell you how many times people said they didn’t know it was there.”
Schneider said it cost about $5,500 to run the Keizer market last year.
Sherman emphasized no long-term decisions have been made about the future of the market in Keizer.
“We reevaluate on a regular basis,” Sherman said. “We have a long-range planning committee developing guidelines as to what will make it sustainable. Things are looked at as they are brought to our attention.”