Bay market focusing on growth in 2019

CONSTANCE BAY – The Constance Bay Community Market (CBCM) was able to grow its board of directors after the April 13 annual general meeting, a good sign for a group of local vendors looking to grow their market in 2019.

The CBCM finished up its third season following the Christmas market last December. It was a season of addition by subtraction for the CBCM as the not-for-profit organization reduced the number of markets it hosted in hopes of creating demand and using the extra prep time to improve the markets it did host.

About 15 people, a mix of vendors, volunteers and those new to the CBCM, came out to attend the Saturday morning meeting.

“So nice to see so many of you,” market manager Cindy Pratt said. “Some faces I don’t even recognize.”

Early in the meeting, Pratt took some time to honour board member Judy Booth who was one of the victims in the OC Transpo bus crash Jan. 11. It was a challenge for Pratt to continue so the chair took over momentarily.

“We want to do something to honour Judy at the market this year,” CBCM Chair Melanie Paquette said. “She was a board member, a vendor and a friend.”

Last year the board decided to switch from twice-monthly to monthly for its regular Saturday morning markets. They increased the market operating hours by two, running from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“But that wasn’t ideal either,” Pratt said.

The CBCM had 43 vendors who attended at least one regular market. They had six youth vendors – something the board promotes.

“We really like to encourage and support our youth,” Pratt said.

As a member of the Farmers Market Ontario organization, it is a requirement the CBCM report sales.

The CBCM reported $10,670 sold at the regular markets and $4,723 sold at the Christmas market. The regular market had a combined attendance of 638 (purchased an item) and another 300 at the Christmas market.

“That seems pretty consistent with what you see at smaller markets,” Pratt said.

The chair noted the first market had the highest attendance and the lowest sales, while the last market had the lowest attendance but the highest sales.

“It seams the colder the weather the more people spend,” Paquette said.

In the end the board lost $465.66 over the 2018 year. That was chalked up to the fewer markets in 2018 but it was also pointed out, each market did better.

“If you look at it at a per-market basis, we actually sold more,” Paquette said. “It was an expected outcome.”

Pratt has a plan for 2019.

She hopes to increase the number of markets by one and have them every fourth Saturday starting May 25. The markets will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Gabriel’s Church at 262 Len Purcell Dr. Following markets will be on June 22, July 27, Aug. 24 and Sept. 28. Two special markets are scheduled for October and December as well.

“2 p.m. was too long but noon was too early,” Pratt said. “So, we’re going to give 1 p.m. a try.”

Pratt proposed a 2019 budget of $6,247.80 with costs going in to improving the website and an additional $1,000 for signage.

“The feedback that we get is that we need more advertising,” Pratt said.

Following the meeting, the board was dissolved and elections were held. All positions were acclaimed with five returning members (Amanda Chapman, Sylvia Bell – non-voting, Julia Cheeseman, Melanie Paquette and Suzanne Lee) and three new members (Amanda Gillespie, Jenette Edwards, and Mike Gordon) volunteering their time.