Lee Perron might run the Englewood Farmers Market like a business, but giving back to the community is his reward.
Perron, marketing manager of the farmers market, said the market committed $11,700 in donations from previous seasons to the Englewood community. The market, starting Oct. 3 and running 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays, is located on West Dearborn Street. Entering the third season, the market will run through May, whereas previously it ran through April.
“We have four new vendors coming to the market,” Perron said. “We’re looking forward to the new and returning vendors. Some, like produce, take up more than one space. We expect to have 49 individual vendors and 60 booths (through April). We’ll have at least 22 vendors comprising 30 booths committing through May.”
Perron said the new vendors include one who deals in fresh cut flowers and the award-winning, Fort Myers-based Jonesez Barbeque.
“The biggest expense I have is managing the labor, which costs $15,000,” Perron said. “The next highest is entertainment and advertising which is $7,000, $4,500 in donations we give back to the community and $2,000 in operating costs.”
Mike Hutchinson, operations personnel, assists Perron with the market.
“We bring out tables, chairs, cables, electricity to prep,” Hutchinson said. “We start at 6:30 a.m. and by 8-8:30 a.m., the market is ready to go. We don’t open until 9 a.m., but we have people who wander in.”
Hutchinson said they’ll hand out Sarasota County maps and do a monthly raffle.
“Around 12:30-1 p.m. is when we draw,” he said. “The prize is from contributions from vendors.”
Some major expenses of the market include maintenance on the trailer that holds market supplies and signage that required some financial assistance from the Englewood Community Redevelopment Agency.
“The signage would be 50/50, where we pick up half the cost and the CRA would cover the other half,” Hutchinson said.
For more information, visit http://www.englewoodfarmersmarket.org.