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News / Business / Clark County Business

Keeping Vancouver Farmers Market open year-round ‘better than anyone expected’

Vendors saw steady, at times record-breaking, sales

By Sarah Wolf, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 19, 2024, 6:05am
2 Photos
Vancouver Farmers Market staff and community members came together during January&rsquo;s ice storm to clear the area around the market, so vendors could sell their products despite the cold.
Vancouver Farmers Market staff and community members came together during January’s ice storm to clear the area around the market, so vendors could sell their products despite the cold. (Contributed by the Vancouver Farmers Market) Photo Gallery

When Vancouver Farmers Market managers announced last year their intent to operate over the winter months, there were questions about how it would go. Would people show up? Would vendors manage? What would happen if there was inclement weather?

Now, the community has answers.

Despite some icy weather, vendors at the first winter market saw steady — and at times record-breaking — sales.

“It went really well,” said Kelsey Allan, director of operations for the Vancouver Farmers Market. “I think better than anyone expected.”

The fall and winter markets are open Saturdays only rather than both weekend days as in spring and summer.

Jocelyn and Will Stauffer sell their Windy River Livestock products every day the farmers market is open.

“We have tons of regular customers,” Jocelyn Stauffer said.

Previously, the Washougal farm would hold short pop-up events in the winter months. But it was still a leaner time for the farm, Jocelyn Stauffer said.

“Having a year-round market has been extra helpful,” she said.

The farm even had days surpassing summer sales. Artisan vendors, especially, saw a boost in sales near Valentine’s Day.

“People are coming there to support the businesses,” Jocelyn Stauffer said.

The winter market was smaller than Vancouver’s summer market, with about 70 vendors each Saturday, compared with 175 during the regular summer market.

About 2,000 people visited the market on a given weekend this winter, compared with between 4,000 and 8,000 on a weekend in the summer.

Still, vendors reported their sales ended up being about the same as in the summer.

“The customers who are coming are there to shop,” Allan said.

Market managers found out just how dedicated those shoppers were during January’s ice storm. They canceled the market Jan. 13. Determined to not have to cancel another weekend’s market, staff and members from the community came together to shovel snow and ice and clear the area for the Jan. 20 market to go on as scheduled.

The Vancouver Farmers Market was the only one in the metro area that opened that day.

Vancouver Farmers Market

On the web: www.vancouverfarmersmarket.com

Downtown Market

Eighth and Esther streets, downtown Vancouver

  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays, April through October.
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. November through March

East Vancouver Market

17701 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd. Vancouver

  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays. June through September

Apart from that storm, market staff and vendors lucked out with weather. The winter proved to be mild.

Allan said the conversation may have been different if the weather was bad all winter.

“But we’ve now proven the concept,” she said. “So we’re gonna keep with it.”

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