Clayton Farmers' Market bad for some businesses

CLAYTON, Mo. - It's got a new location, new day, and now new complaints. The Clayton Farmers' Market is a good place for fresh fruit and veggies, but some businesses say it's producing rotten results for their businesses.

More than 30,000 people come to Clayton to work during the week. The Thursday farmers' market is designed to get them to stick around after work and spend money. Some say it's not working.

Mike Buffa hopes for brisk business on Thursday mornings because by Thursday afternoons, the manager of Jon's Pipe Shop says, like his product, his business goes up in smoke.

"On a normal average afternoon depending upon the time of year, we could have as many as 20 to 25 customers," said Buffa. "The farmers' market we probably average maybe five."

Nothing like orange barrels blocking off the road, he says, to impact his bottom dollar.

"Unfortunately, it is a killer," he said.

The city shuts down traffic on one block of N. Central Avenue by one to set up for the farmers' market that starts at 4:30. Jennifer Rich now shuts down her pharmacy early on Thursdays.

"At about 1:30, the whole place, it just empties out," said Rich.

The Clayton Farmers' Market moved to North Central Avenue this year from a different location and day, from Saturday to Thursday. The mayor says it's designed to draw in some of the 30,000 plus people who work in Clayton during the week.

Organizer Bobby Conn says it's working, with an average of 400-500 visitors each week.

"At this point, the market is running very smoothly. We have seen steady growth week to week," said Conn.

"I think it's a positive thing," said Frank Schmitz. He owns three restaurants on the block. And while he says his business is so far flat since the market began in May, he sees potential for growth.

"I think in total, seeing the big picture, I still believe it's a good thing," said Schmitz.

The mayor admits the market got off to a slow start because of bad weather, but he says most vendors are selling out and most businesses are happy with it.

The Clayton Farmers' Market runs through October.


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