Lakes Public Market closes up shop

After a third season and multiple in town venues, local vendors decided to close the operation down, citing a lack of customer support.

After a third season and multiple in town venues, local vendors decided to close the operation down, citing a lack of customer support.

Lakes Public Market manager, Colleen Simmons said that she is disappointed the venture was unsuccessful.

“I think the first problem was finding a good location that was safe for everyone and one that met our needs for setting up. Parking, visibility, power and water were the four most important things.”

During the first season, the market was held in the centre of town at the Lakes District Printing parking lot. Parking became a problem so the market was relocated to the Lakes District Maintenance parking lot. Vendors noticed that while the location was great for RV parking, customers were harder to attract. In its second and third season the market was again relocated, this time to the field opposite the Blue Spruce Trailer Park.

“We all felt that the Blue Spruce field was the best location in town and it did bring in some of the travelers because of easy access. I’m sure all of our signage helped too.”

Simmons said a successful market helps boost the local economy, where local sellers have an avenue to trade or sell their goods, while customers have access to fresh food and locally made crafts.

“When you think of all the links it creates for local economy, the positives are really huge. It’s not credit cards, loans or debit cards that stimulate the economy, it’s good old fashioned cash at the grass roots level, where no debt is created in its use. As long as cash is circulating within the community, we are creating commerce not debt.”

According to Simmons, the biggest negative about the market was vender commitment and consumer support.

“The market can have a great location and sunny weather, but without these two things it will be just a waste of time.”

“Most of the vendors weren’t even making their gas money back.”

Once the market was reduced to four or five vendors this summer, even less people came to shop.

“RVs never bothered to stop. People would pull in, have a look from the parking lot and just keep going.”

Simmons said she will wait and see what the future brings. There is a possibility, if the time is right, that the Lakes Public Market will once again resurface.

“Right now though, a few of us are going to try Houston, since they are happening why not support them?”

Simmons said she will miss the people and great conversations she was able to be part of over the three seasons.

“It saddens me to think we couldn’t make it happen. It sure wasn’t for lack of trying, but I will continue to buy products from these folks regardless of whether the market is going or not. There is power in where you chose to spend your money and I like to keep my money local …. besides it’s what I believe in.”