I recently emailed the council with a plea for you to reconsider down sizing the Marco Island Farmers Market. Thanks to those of you who responded. Since then, I have spoken to many of the shop owners of the stores in the Marco Town Center plaza. They tell me that their business is more profitable the day of the farmers market. They make more money because people from Marco Island and Naples shop in the stores and eat in their restaurants after the market.
I encourage the council to slow down on making this very important decision and take time to query the island’s business owners before assuming that these retailers and restaurateurs feel that the market is competitive. They tell me the market compliments their businesses! These businesses may actually loose money if the market looses it’s “flair”, ambiance, social amenity and local draw. If the council reduces the market due to fear of business competition, will other fairs, events, and socials be limited? Will the Seafood Festival and Marco Island Center for the Arts Shows be prohibited, for example?
If parking is an issue, has the council explored solutions to this problem? Perhaps: asking the Police Chief for suggestions; making Park Avenue handicapped parking only; prohibiting parking on Park Avenue? instituting a small fee for parking, reducing market hours such as 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.? Rather than reducing the number of vendors, has the council considered raising the season fee to ensure that the market is economically profitable for the city? If the number of vendors are greatly reduced, many residents and visitors may think it’s not worth the extra stop. Many people may not make the trip from Naples which would translate into less shopping and eating out on Marco.
The Marco Island Farmers Market is famous! My many friends, who own seasonal homes on Marco Island, have been emailing and calling me from the summer homes – very upset that the market could change. They love the market and count on it as an weekly social, shopping, and fun event!
It’s widely know as the best farmers market in Florida. The city should be proud and flattered by this and work hard to save this unique treasure, this well attended and beloved tradition. Please take time to survey the businesses; to hold a public hearing for residents; to explore solutions to perceived problems; and to see that this market may actually become profitable for the city with new management strategies. Please help save this island tradition.
Thank you so much, Andrea Cooper