by Stephen Dafoe

The Morinville Farmers’ Market resumes at the Ray McDonald Sports Center Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The market will continue indoors weekly until June except for Good Friday.

Market Manager Korien Sampson said the indoor market had about 15 vendors when it shut down for the Christmas break. She is anticipating ten vendors to start this week and to grow the selection in coming weeks.

“We have fish and seafood, baking, different arts and crafts, and lots of good food,” Sampson said, noting one of the vendors to look for is a teen who makes his own chocolate. “It’s to die for, and that’s what I love about the Farmers’ Market; it’s a stepping stone for an entrepreneur. He makes Divinely Chocolate – fantastic chocolate. Just amazing.”

But while Sampson is working to grow the selection, she is also trying to grow the customer base. The final few markets before Christmas drew approximately 20 to 30 potential customers, one tenth of what Sampson believes in needed to make the market viable for the vendors who come out each week.

“Something the customers really have to understand is that if they really want better vendors, I have to have the numbers. Because I can’t get the better vendors to come unless I can say I get 100 to 300 customers every single week for the indoor and 500 to 700 for the outdoor.”

Sampson realizes the current economy has played a role on the lower turnouts but is hopeful numbers of vendors and customers will increase.

“I encourage people to come out and shop locally because if we don’t start supporting our own economy here in Morinville, we’re going to lose it,” she said. “It’s the same with our businesses.

The Morinville Farmers’ Market runs Fridays at the arena from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. The market will move outdoors on the first Friday in June and run until fall, operating the same 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. hours.

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