Market survey results are in

It’s not super scientific, but the results of our market survey are in: it looks like people are using the Weston Farmers’ Market less.

Of the 46 people who responded, about half said they are using the market less than last year. Only 15% are using it more, and about 25% are using it about the same. A few people hadn’t lived here.


On the surface, that’s not a good sign. It could be, obviously, that the 15% who go more are spending so much more that they make up for the 50% who go less—although that seems unlikely.

It could also be that the results are unrepresentative, but they do agree with what the farmers told me last week.

A wonderful reader has proposed a resident focus group to the BIA. Another suggested that the market move to the Church St hospital site—both interesting ideas. I favour lowering rents, at least to last year’s level, to make the transition easier.

Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.

25 thoughts on “Market survey results are in”

  1. We need to work to keep the market: yes, the BIA needs to listen and respond, and the Church st parking lot is a great idea.
    Doing nothing, and charging higher rents when space has been reduced and the site is further away makes no sense at all.

    We need to foster and encourage our vendors, and quickly! BIA, please.

  2. I have been a vendor at this great market for a very long time. We loved attending this market to sell to the wonderful people that attended; they were so grateful for this market. It was a farmers market in the true sense of the word market full of great vendors that dedicated themselves to supporting the Weston Market…….We began at this market when it was run by a woman named Laura who managed this market by getting the community involved. It was clear she did her job, and she did it very well……..selectively choosing the vendors, creating a higher end market –where foodies and the like attended looking for the best freshest quality products!!!!

    Since she left approx 5 years ago, the market has slowly and consistently gone down hill…..
    This market needs a manager who will be enthusiastic about their job and the market and promote in thru social media, more and local advertising. There is not even a sign out on the streets on a Saturday morning.
    Now the market is in a new location, advertising was put out there which generated new business for one or two days now we are at lower attendance then last year.
    I blame the new management of this market rather than the new location……We have lost 50% of business since this new management has taken over.
    Also there is no enthusiasm generated by this management team causing the vendors to leave one a time…….last week 3 vendors left.

    1. As the coordinator of the events for the market, we have an amazing line-up this season, including an Artisan Day with 15 of the top artisans in Ontario; a Corn Roast; A Customer Appreciation Day; A Honey of a Day; A Crash course on How to Make Preserves, a Celebrity Chef teaching kids how to make nutritious lunches from market produce and we round up the festivities with our annual Harvest Fest.

      Someone said we should post more on the social media and I want to challenge that comment by saying, we post several times a week on facebook and twitter. In fact, there is not one advertising medium we have not used to promote the market.

      I have one parting suggestion – if you really love the market and I know we all do, why not come out and support it through this transition; tell a friend about it or, better still, invite a friend to come with you and lunch on Grandpa Ken’s amazing Back-Bacon sandwiches and for dessert dine on the wonderful pastries and pies from vendors like CC Creations and World of Cake. There are lots of café-style tables to sit at and enjoy this beautiful weather while you dine.
      WE ALL LOVE WESTON AND THE WESTON FARMERS’ MARKET so let’s show our support by shopping in our stores and supporting our market.

    2. Our market manager is only around to collect rent. Kenny does more work than the market manager and greatful to have him.

  3. In response to your article re the Weston Farmers’ Market, as the market manager I would like to address the following points.

    Relocating the Market:
    The choices were to either move to where we are now, move further south to the Wright Avenue parking lot or have no market. I think that the choice we had was a difficult one and we are so grateful to the Baptist Church for giving up their parking to accommodate the market every Saturday. It is a very central location and less than a 5 minute walk from John Street. As well, in order to secure that lot properly, we actually pay someone each Friday night to sit in the lot to ensure that people don’t park there overnight.

    1. There are signs everywhere on the fences of the old location, and all along Weston Rd and Lawrence. They were installed before the end of last year’s market to ensure that our visitors were given ample notice of the move.
    2. We designed a professional flyer for opening day and had it delivered, through Canada Post, to 20,000 addresses in our catchment area.
    3. A full-page ad in the Guardian for the official opening day.
    4. Metrolinx advertised on the ramp of the Up Express and made announcements on the GO train for the week before the official opening.
    5. The Guardian has listed the market every Thursday in its community calendar, both the print and on-line versions.
    6. We erected 50 lawn signs in key areas in the community and put flyers in all the apartment buildings.
    7. Last year, when we knew where we were moving, we handed out flyers for a 6 week period before the end of the market, listing the new location and made a laminated version of the flyer for each vendor to display in his/ her stall.

    Market is Slower than Other Years:
    1. Unfortunately, the market is always slow until about the middle of July when all the vendors are present. It is a comment we hear every year because people forget that many farmers are not in to the market until their crops arrive. With that said, the vendors, by their own admission, stated that they had one of the busiest opening days in recent memory. That in itself contradicts what you have claimed in your post.
    2. You came to write your review on the market at 1:15 p.m. Most of the vendors are packing up at that time and some had already gone. The busiest time for the market is 8.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. as is the case with most markets. I suggest you come around 9 to 10am, meet up with me for a visit and we can chat with various visitors and vendors.

    Interview with vendors:
    1. As is often the case, those who have the least to complain about complain the most and talk the loudest. One particular vendor at the market has been paying for 4 booths for the past 35 years and has been taking up space for 10 to 12 stalls. Understandably he is upset; for the first time in the history of the market, he is being asked to pay for what he is getting. We have not received any other complaints about fees other than from this vendor.
    2. The stall rental fee has not been increased in approximately 8 – 10 years. Historically, vendors were receiving discounts as the number of stalls they rented increased. All that has changed is that the discounts have been eliminated as there is no other market where this system exists.

    Entertainment at the Market:
    1. With the exception of last week, we have had music every week at the market. On the official opening day, we had a bouncy castle, a balloon artist, a band and a face painter.
    2. We have many more major events planned for the market from now until the end of the season including but not limited to: a Corn Roast; Honey of a Day; Farmer Appreciation Day and our annual Harvest Fest, just to mention a few.

    Interview with Me:
    You stated in your article that I refused to comment on the market – that is patently false. I asked you to call Marion, our administrative assistant, to book a meeting time with me so we could have an undisturbed meeting instead of one on the fly. Instead, you wrote an article, based primarily on the comments of one disgruntled vendor and his helper. Given your other excellent articles on other subjects and even positive comments about the market in the past, I am really disappointed that you decided to write this. It hurts the market and the community when false information is written as fact. I expect better.

    Masum Hossain
    BIA Chair

    1. Hi Masum. I’d like to address your points. First of all, I spoke to seven vendors, the majority of whom said that business was worse. More than one were despairing. Second, I spoke to you for quite a long time, taking notes, with your full knowledge of who I was–at the end of which you told me you did not want to be quoted. You had the time (because you gave it to me) and it was not done ‘one the fly’. I’d be glad to publish my notes to demonstrate that.

      Regardless, as I have said in my private correspondence with you, I think you need to ask the vendors, not shoot the messenger. I think you should take up the offer of some residents, and hold a focus group, and I think you should ask yourself not whether you are doing enough, but whether you are doing all you can.

  4. Wow what BS from all sides. Those that live in Weston and cry about the market don’t even attend the market. I went to the market when Laura was the manager and it sucked then like it sucks now. The market is advertised but it’s got nothing special about it. It just sucks.

  5. What a bunch of EGOs we are witnessing – instead of looking at the whole picture let’s just criticize and throw blame at the wind – no one talks about the John St bridge not open which makes it harder for Weston Residence to walk to the market – no one mentions that original location is not ready ( delay after delay) thus last minute arrangements with the church had to be made – any move has growing pains – in the past people had patience and understanding – to-day We look after number one.

  6. I’ve been a vendor for a while now, instead of fighting like immature teenagers. The issue the BIA. If the vendors held a vote to keep the manager. He wouldn’t be around. We were promised a better location, and so much and nothing was delivered. May 7th we were told in 4 weeks we will be in our official location… It’s July 9th. Still on church property.

    Telling vendors that they will be charged more because of their truck is stupid.

    At the end of the day we need a new manager. Vote. Vote using the vendors the ones who pay to be here. Of course if you vote in the BIA he will stay manager.

    In the past two weeks 3 vendors left. Two long term vendors. More are on the edge of leaving.

    Those are facts. Ask the vendors they just want to be successful and have Weston successful. Why would the vendors who pay thousands want an unsuccessful market.

  7. I hope the vendors all leave just to prove how foolish Weston is…all this for a crappy 30 storey rental tower.

  8. As a long time retailer and resident who does attend the Market almost every weekend and has for the past 20 years, let me say this: the John St lot did not “belong” to the BIA, it was owned by the City – we were there because they “allowed us to be there” for the past 30 plus years. They made the choice to redevelop the lot and incorporate the Market into their plans. The movement to the new lot was not our choice but the only option while the redevelopment was happening – where would any of you put it that people could walk to or where we would not have to pay serious rent which would, in turn, made the stall fees rise? In fact, the original spot Metrolinx ‘gave us’ was much further down and it was with much wrangling that we were able to stay within a 5 minute walk of our original spot. None of you would have walked to the south location down by Wright Avenue.

    To complain about a development that will bring artists, community activities, music, etc as well as new residents and hopefully new businesses, is short-sighted and selfish. We need an injection of something here and I, for one, am hoping that it helps to revitalize our stagnant main street with new residents and hopefully new, vibrant businesses and restaurants. Not enough people come down to main street as it is now and even with a few new businesses, I haven’t seen any increase in foot traffic or my sales go up, so that tells me that no matter what we or others do to make our community better, no one is ever satisfied. Think about it. Are you supporting your main street like residents in other communities do? We’ve been here a very long time but it’s our ‘outside sales’ that keep us here – that’s really sad to say.

    The market is only as good as the people who vend and the people who attend it. If walking an extra 2 blocks is a problem – yes, it’s only an extra 2 blocks – then I have no words. No question, the John Street Bridge is part of the problem, however, far beyond the control of the BIA – if you have issues, address them to our MPP as it was built by the province as a compromise to closing John Street to vehicular traffic. If you remember, this was a street that was to be completely closed because of the train – the bridge is the compromise and there were delays in building it due to various problems during the build. I am just as inconvenienced as everyone else and it means I have to change how I attend the market before going to work. But I do it.

    Going back to the market: every Saturday I have attended the current market, it has been busy, including the one vendor who seems to bark the loudest with complaints but who always seems to be sold out at the end of the day. Case in point was this past weekend where I observed that by 10am, much of the area that they had staked out was empty of product and they had double the staff on. Is he losing sales or was he busy – you figure it out. I don’t see any vendors from previous years not there – some cannot come on a particular weekend due to family commitments but are back the next week. So to say ‘they have left’ is not accurate. Case in point was Lincoln Line Orchards – they could have not come back after Peter’s horrible accident but they are committed to the market. They are ‘team players’. We have a new vendor who has told our BIA that they are doing well. Are they lying? I know people who have already gone back to buy more of their product because it was so good. If they were not doing well, they would leave. Other vendors who ‘choose’ to not come out of spite or thinking they are holding us hostage are also misguided – they are the ones losing sales, not the BIA or the market. They aren’t penalizing the BIA – they are penalizing YOU by not being there! This is not a new story either but one that has been happening since they originally joined the market back in the early 2000s. If they were truly that unhappy, they wouldn’t come back year after year. Think about it for a minute….

    Someone mentioned Kenny – this is his job which he is paid for. He has worked at this market for many years but does not ‘manage it’. And before him, there were others who did same to assist the market manager – btw we have had 5 managers in the past 20 years and all of them have dealt with the exact same issues. They are on site to help with traffic, to help set up, to take down and to clean. One person cannot do all the tasks at hand and to say the market manager is not there or does nothing is disrespectful – you try it for a week or two.

    Going back to the vendors – if sabotaging the market is what the intent is, it says more about them than the BIA. The market is ‘team’ of sorts – when one or two players refuse to run the field or play their ‘positions’ properly, the team fails. It’s not a singular failure but a team failure. So if causing drama and grief every week by not following directions as to where to set up or moving without permission or demanding a different spot is how they wish to comport themselves, then blame them and not the BIA for any failure or lack thereof going forward. Teams work together not against each other. Perfect analogy is a big display of fruit at a grocery store – you can take the fruit from the top of the pile and it stays intact. But you can decide to remove the bottom piece and it causes the whole pyramid to collapse and all the fruit spills to the floor. I leave that as my final comment.

      1. Thank you. I am really exhausted by some the criticisms without any of the solutions or the disregard to those who put their hearts and souls into making Weston a better place. I dare anyone to open a business on the main street or at the market and see how difficult it is to stay afloat. You are either part of the solution or the problem. I choose to be part of the solution.

  9. I agree and why all these anonymous comments. If you have the guts to write comets, then have the guts to leave your name.

    1. I went to two other markets in the past two weeks and the Weston market, last Saturday, was far busier than either. I’m also seeing a lot of new faces at our market, undoubtedly the result of a new location. I predict that this season will be one of the busiest ever for our market. More people each week are finding us at our new location.

  10. I’d looooooooove to know why a certain business owner in Weston not on the board of management but pretends to be the supreme ruler of it and also not connected with the market is sticking their nose in its business concerning the management and the vendors.
    Also. the market is corrupt. it should fold once and for all and start up new with new blood . the market has been dying a slow painful death for 5 years.
    really the BIA should fold as well. they are doing a horrible job at promoting Weston.
    what a joke.
    shame on those involved or pretend to be…

    1. Thank you for being honest. Being a vendor I feel you pain. The BIA is killing the market and the market isn’t even full of farmers. Besides Peter, Ted, rob & Joe who else really grows there stuff? They sell bananas. What the fuck those aren’t local. A market should be local, not OFT or pre made baked items sold at a higher cost.

      Everything good Must come to a end sooner or later and in the case sooner is better because it’s getting killed.

      Suri is on the board. We need new blood not this dying blood we have. People have applied to run the market but always get turned down.

      Truly wonder where my $40 a week goes. My family has been there a long time. No improvement since the current manager started. So more advertising or anything. He’s just home or not around at the market. Just to collect money or whatever.

      I’m done this is child’s play…

  11. Matty, I was on the Board for 15 years and stepped down to focus on other activities in the community. Vendor, I am no longer on the Board but offer my assistance when needed or asked for. More than other business owners in the neighbourhood do. If that makes me part of the problem, then we have a difference of opinions as to what being part of a team means. You can ask many people in the community what I do outside of running my business – whether you like me or not, I step up. Whether you agree with my opinion or not, I actually participate instead of sitting at a keyboard bashing others. I don’t know who you are, so not sure why you feel the need to make nasty comments about me.

    And all those who don’t put their names to their posts, you are part of the problem. If you don’t have the courage to say who you are when you are posting, then why should anyone consider them?

    If this market fails, it’s on the people who don’t support it and the vendors who don’t offer solutions to the BIA to make it better. Obviously none of you understand what ‘teamwork’ is about. And that, in the end, is the saddest part of this whole conversation – the energy put into bashing people and the BIA and the market could be better spent building something up instead of trying to tear it down. But some people are happier when they are destroying things. Same mentality applies to why main street has so few great stores – no one is going to open a business or stay here when they are not supported. You reap what you sow….

    1. Likewise for the market, vendors are not going to continue there i they are not supported

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