Hoping to be more accessible to its east-side customers, Heirloom Farmers Market will move its Friday-morning market from Jesse Owens Park to Trail Dust Town starting Friday.
Tucked away on Sarnoff Drive, south of Broadway, Jesse Owens Park doesn’t attract enough drive-by traffic to draw more customers to the market, said Manish Shah, executive director of Heirloom Farmers Markets.
“We started at Jesse Owens Park four years ago. We had a pretty good run of it,” Shah said. “But, usually after its fourth year, markets are further along, in terms of a following from customers. The location is tucked away. People didn’t feel the compulsion to go over there.”
All of the market’s vendors — there are more than 20 — are on board with the move and are excited about the new location, Shah said. And, seven or eight new vendors will start selling their wares at the Trail Dust Town market.
“I think it will be very helpful and we’ll have lots more exposure and support,” said Valerie Smith, owner of Jack and the Bean Soup and a farmers market vendor. “The people who live close by have been really supportive, but there’s just not enough traffic.”
Shah said he was approached about the possibility of having a market at Trail Dust Town by the property’s management. He was enticed by the beautiful property, ample parking, restaurants and easy access.
“They’re right on Tanque Verde. Right on the main street,” Shah said. “So, just from an access and exposure point of view, it made sense.”
Trail Dust Town management “is excited about the idea of having the farmers market, partly to increase our daytime presence, and primarily to become more involved with the exciting, active farmers market community,” said David Ragland, Trail Dust Town public relations manager.
“We looked at it as a great opportunity to reach a community that we hadn’t really been able to reach before.”
The market will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays in the courtyard of Trail Dust Town, 6541 E. Tanque Verde Road, which is known for its Old West-style storefronts, cowboy stunt shows, kids’ attractions and Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse.
“It’s a gorgeous property,” Shah said. “And it has that feel like the old main street, where people would go and bring their veggies and meats. I think the location lends itself better to a more engaging experience for everyone.”