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The Farmers Market as a Small Business Opportunity

Published on Tue, 06/06/2017 - 04:10am
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Summer is almost here, and that means it’s the perfect time to go to the farmers’ market!

You may not have noticed, but each market booth is its own small business, and these venues can be an inexpensive way to test out your own venture. If you have a small-batch food product, selling at farmers' markets can be a low cost and potentially profitable way to get your foot into the local market.

There are well over 20 farmers' markets in and around the Kansas City area.  While most start taking applications around February or March, others have spots available all summer long. The booth fees at markets can range from $10 for one day to over $1,000 to secure a booth for the whole season. There may also be a discount if you pay for the entire season in full. 

To sell your food product, you will need to get the rules and regulations for each individual farmers' market. Call the health department that handles your market’s area. Find out what permits you need and other necessary requirements. It’s a bit of extra work, but the rules are there to keep your market and your customers safe.

Pros:

  • Low cost for someone just starting out 
  • Built-in customer base with little to no advertising on your part
  • Weekly customer interaction with honest feedback on your product

Cons:

  • Unlike a brick and mortar location, you are subject to the weather.  
  • If you don’t like being outdoors, this is not for you.

Supplies Needed: 

  • Outdoor pop-up tent (Note: some markets require your tent to be a specific color.) 
  • Tent weights (to keep your tent on the ground when it gets windy)
  • Folding table
  • Business cards 
  • Sign/Banner
  • Point of sale app (for your phone to take credit card sales—Square, PayPal etc.)

Fees: 

  • Application fee for each market
  • Weekly booth fee for each market
  • Health department permit fees (Each permit has a fee, so bring your wallet.)

Starting off at a farmers' market may seem like small potatoes, but it can be a great way to get your small business going while still keeping your day job.  It is a low cost way to test run your idea, so you can see whether it will sink or swim without breaking the bank. You will also become part of a community that can create a dedicated customer base that will support you throughout the life of your small business. And don't forget, it’s fun!

- Erika M.
Square One Small Business Services

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