The Wolfville Farm Market is popular with everyone, isn’t it? On a Saturday it is lovely to toddle downtown, wander around the growing number of tables to see and perhaps buy everything from soup to nuts – fruits and vegetables, flowers, organic meats and dairy produce, home baking of all sorts and all kinds of crafty things- jewellry, scarves and hats, twig furniture, bird houses- well, you name it. You can buy your lunch, listen to some live music, bring your kids and your dogs, and chat with anyone who’s anyone there. It has to be a good thing for the Town to bring people into Wolfville and have such a popular attraction in the town mustn’t it?
But Whoa Nellie. Let’s look at this from another point of view. Many of the businesses at the Market come in from outside of Wolfville. They don’t pay Town Business Occupancy tax or the Wolfville Business Development tax which goes to the WBDC. They get free advertising and for $10-$12 a table they set up on Town property and use Town parking on the busiest shopping day. That $10 doesn’t go to the Town or to the other businesses in Wolfville with whom they are in direct competition.
So is it surprising that some retail shop owners have complained? They have complained to the WBDC. Now they have complained to the Town Council. Do they want the Market closed down? No, but they do want the Town to take seriously its responsibility to small business and do something to resolve this issue to everyone’s satisfaction. Couldn’t the Market contribute in some way to the Town coffers or to the WBDC? Or couldn’t it be restricted to Sunday, say 11 am – 4 pm as some shop owners have suggested? This is the responsibility of the Town Council to resolve not the WBDC who really have no authority to negotiate with the Market organisers.
And we as consumers should take this seriously too. It isn’t going to help us to have the Farm Market on a Saturday if many of the shops we rely on the rest of the week are forced to close their doors. Think of the shops that have left Wolfville already. Think about that when you buy your lettuce and your flowers and your sausage at the “Wolfville” Farm Market.