Glencoe Farmers Market Halted, Officials Cite Lack Of Interest

March 10, 2023 0 By JohnValbyNation

GLENCOE, IL — The Glencoe Farmers Market has gone fallow this year, as village officials pulled the plug on the operation due to a lack of interest from shoppers and vendors.

“Maybe we just have to let it go — think about having a question on our surveys — but maybe we have to let it go and see what the response is,” said Village President Howard Roin.

“Because it does not appear that there’ll be a lot of people with torches and pitchforks at the next meeting saying, ‘Where’s my farmers market?'” Roin said, “because they weren’t going to it.”

Find out what's happening in Winnetka-Glencoewith free, real-time updates from Patch.

The market was run by the Glencoe Chamber of Commerce through a contract with operator Bensidoun prior to 2015, when the chamber hired Taste Marketing to run it.

In 2021, after the Glencoe Chamber merged with the Winnetka-Northfield Chamber of Commerce, the village took over the market and started working with Highland Park-based Taste Marketing.

Find out what's happening in Winnetka-Glencoewith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Last year, the market moved from Wyman Green to Village Court to allow for easier access from downtown businesses and make it easier for vendors to setup. Village staff stepped up marketing efforts and its hours were changed to 1 to 5 p.m.

“Despite all these changes there was no noticeable impact in attendance,” Communications Manager Sammy Hanzel told village trustees at a committee meeting in January.

“So following the 2022 season, staff met with Taste Marketing to debrief and discuss the future of the market,” Hanzel said. “Ultimately, Taste Marketing has indicated that there is isn’t really a wish to manage the market going forward and expressed numerous concerns whether it was worth continuing a farmer’s market at all.”

Hanzel said staff were told the North Shore is oversaturated with larger farmer’s markets that attract more vendors and shoppers. Glencoe’s market began the season with 15 vendors but ended with only about half as many.

“It was kind of a pretty sad show this year,” Roin said. “And next year too.”

Winnetka’s market, operated by the Chamber, has 75 vendors, and Deerfield’s volunteer-run market has 36 on Saturdays.

On Wednesdays, the Ravinia Farmers Market run by Taste Marketing attracts 30 vendors, while the Northbrook market run by local volunteers has 16 vendors, according to Hanzel.

“Additionally there’s a lot of foot traffic at the market but a not a lot of buyers,” she said. “Vendors eventually also did not find it worth their while to continue coming if there weren’t a lot of purchases being made, resulting in the obvious decline by vendors by the end of the season.”

Winnetka-Northfield-Glencoe Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terry Dason told Pioneer Press the chamber lacked the money and staff to handle running a second market.

Village Manager Phil Kiraly said the most successful vendors were those that did not sell produce, but rather sellers of flowers, chocolate, cheese, alcohol and other products. Kiraly said the village allocated significant resources to promoting the 2022 market, but it continued to struggle.

“Quite frankly, the struggle we have had is establishing the right day, the right time,” Kiraly said. “We’ve changed it several times … Never had much foot traffic, or we start the season with great foot traffic and by July it’s slowed to a trickle.”

Click Here: cheap penrith panthers jersey

Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts.