Farmers Set Up Markets in Malls

Discussion
Jan 14, 2010
George Anderson

By George Anderson

You might not expect to find them there, but farmers are
increasingly setting up their stalls at markets located in malls. General Growth
Properties, which operates malls across the country, has farmers markets in
18 separate locations, according to the Arizona Daily Star. One market
located at a mall in Northridge, Cal., regularly draws crowds of up to 5,000
people since opening 10 years ago.

One of the newest markets at Park Place in
Tucson opened for the first time this week and the crowd was sparse with vendors
outnumbering customers. Vendors were not concerned, expecting that shoppers
will increase over time.

Jack Lemons, of Super Natural Organics, was among those
selling goods at Park Place. “I’m excited about this one. There’s a certain
clientele that frequents farmers markets, but having it at the mall will expose
us to a much larger segment of the population,” he told the Daily Star.

Jeanette
Gulledge, who manages events for General Growth, said, “Farmers market
organizers came to us and said, ‘Can we set up farmers markets at your mall?’
It was a perfect match: parking, restrooms, and typically at times of day when
we’re not busiest.”

Discussion Questions: Do you expect
that farmers markets will become a more familiar site at mall locations around
the country? Do you see this as a concept that has growth potential?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

15 Comments on "Farmers Set Up Markets in Malls"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
11 years 3 months ago

Absolutely, this is a trend for the future. People want fresh, pesticide-free, organic vegetables. There’s a fascination with the family farm. The smart retailer will embrace this and instead of looking at the farmer’s market as competition, will use it as a marketing ploy to drive more traffic. There is an abundance of ideas that you could use to drive traffic. Have the farmer bring in a cow during June Dairy Month so city kids can see where milk comes from, etc.

Marc Gordon
Guest
Marc Gordon
11 years 3 months ago

I think having a farmer’s market in malls is great. Just as long as they limit it to produce. Slaughtering cattle in front of an American Eagle Outfitters could just be awkward.

Roger Saunders
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

The “Mall” delivers a larger gathering of potential customers. And, with space/parking lot availability, this type of event, run effectively, will only serve to boost traffic for other merchants.

In the process, farmers will be bringing the local products to the marketplace, and growing their own yields. Sharp idea.

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
Guest
11 years 3 months ago
Absolutely! The number of farmers’ markets grew from 1,755 in 1994 to 4,685 in 2008. In recent research which I conducted for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, respondents chose farmer’s market products for the following reasons:Fresher productsSupports the local economyYou know the sourceYou know what you are gettingHigh quality products Placing farmer’s markets in shopping malls is a natural extension of the farmer’s market brand and brings added traffic to the mall. In addition to the reasons noted above, research has found that the presence of children in the home directly correlates to the purchase of locally produced products. Specifically, parents want to create strong communities for their children, and buying local is viewed as a way to achieve this. If the mall is to be perceived as the neighborhood town market or town square, the inclusion of a farmer’s market reinforces this perception. Farmer’s markets create this sense of community that malls strive to achieve. I believe the move to the malls is only the beginning of a trend to incorporate farmer’s markets in… Read more »
Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 3 months ago

If you can find another outlet to sell your products then I say go for it. Farmer’s markets have been successful in Canada for years and most malls now have some sort of farmer’s market program on the weekends and during seasonal periods. I have seen some pretty unique and very high quality food items from some of these stalls and there is no way a customer can walk by without trying a sample or finding out what that wonderful aroma is.

David Livingston
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Farmers are always looking for cheap, low rent, higher traffic places to sell their goods. As malls continue to fall out of favor, landlords will be more willing to settle for out of the ordinary tenants. Could be a win-win for both farmers and landlords.

Cathy McManus
Guest
Cathy McManus
11 years 3 months ago

I cannot see how this combination cannot be but a win win for both the retail stores and services, and the farmers. It’s also a win win for the consumer to have fresh produce and retail all under one roof or parking lot. Saves time and gas going to different locales. Hope to see this arrangement in my area soon.

Warren Thayer
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

If supermarkets are smart, they’ll set aside sections or at least have signage for locally grown produce and meats. Right now, this really resonates with the shopper on a variety of levels, including buy local, supporting farms, knowing the source, etc. You’d think that up here in rural Vermont, farmer’s markets would be like “coals to Newcastle.” But they absolutely thrive, in town commons, town halls, etc. Farms are often not on main driving roads, or particularly convenient as shopping venues.

Jonathan Marek
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Sounds like a win to me. After all, what better ideas does anyone have for all that vacant mall space and wide open parking?

Gene Detroyer
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Let’s not look at this just as an opportunity for the farmers. This is a great opportunity for the malls. People who shop farmer’s markets shop them with considerably more frequency than they shop malls. That is especially true in today’s economic conditions and especially true in today’s overstored/overmalled landscape.

The farmer’s markets offer fresh products that if people are fans, they must go back at least weekly or better to restock. How many retailers in the mall have their shoppers compelled to return at least weekly?

The concept has tremendous growth potential and will only stop when mall shoppers return in such numbers that there is no longer room for the farmers.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

What a brilliant opportunity for mall shoppers and market shoppers to feed one another. I can’t see a downside to this – definitely a winner all around. More power to everyone involved.

Michael Boze
Guest
Michael Boze
11 years 3 months ago
Sounds like a strategy for desperate mall operators. I am writing from the perspective of a retailer that enjoys visiting and shopping the local farmer’s market. The notion of having a farmers market at a mall is a turnoff. Being outside and shopping for your produce and vegetables, baked goods and handcrafted product is very appealing. Sometimes it rains; some days it is a brilliant sunny day. That’s all a part of the charm of farmer’s markets. How does a mall add to that experience? For those readers who visited Seattle, envision the Pike Place Market with a GAP Store as apart of the offering. I like the GAP but flying fish and skinny leg jeans are a bad mix. Part of the appeal of the farmer’s market, I believe, is its “lesser retail experience” which malls seem to be over the top. My feeling is that this farmer’s market is a local movement that will not take root in malls and will only be moved aside to seek another home when malls find the… Read more »
Anne Bieler
Guest
Anne Bieler
11 years 3 months ago

This is such a good idea–bring shoppers to the malls, get local produce to shoppers. As much as food retailers want to buy local produce for their stores, they are set up to work with vendors, not individual farmers. Farmers can get fair prices for their produce, and we get fresher, nicer products.

Bill Emerson
Guest
Bill Emerson
11 years 3 months ago

One of the biggest challenges facing retail developers is to fill all the empty space. I think we’ll see all sorts of “why didn’t we think of that” over the next several years.

John Crossman
Guest
John Crossman
11 years 3 months ago

I like this idea and I believe we will see more of it and similar concepts too. Malls need to be better connected the their communities and provide events that draw more regular traffic. Look for more charity events as well.

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

How more or less likely are farmers markets to be successful in malls than in more ’traditional’ locations?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...