Main Street Rogers To Take Over Farmers Market Operations Next Season

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ROGERS (KFSM) -- When the Rogers Farmers Market returns to downtown next spring it will be under new leadership.

Earlier this month, the City of Rogers announced plans to replace the current farmers market at the corner of 1st and Walnut Streets with a farmers market that will be run by Main Street Rogers through a contract with the city.

In its current form the farmers market will continue to meet every Wednesday and Saturday through Oct. 31, so vendors and customers won't notice any changes until next spring.

"I know that any time there's any change often times not everyone's going to be pleased with that change," Rogers Mayor Greg Hines said.

But he adds that it's what Rogers residents have been looking for.

"We don't believe this farmers market is living up to the expectations we have of a farmers market," Hines said.

He said residents have expressed that they want a bigger selection.

Current farmers market manager Kimberly Scott has been managing the farmers market for 14 years. She said she was caught off guard by the city's decision and had a day to notify her 90 vendors about the coming changes.

"And there was no way for me to do that," Scott said. "The board wasn't even all informed before it came out in the paper and all of our members still don't know yet."

Scott argues that she has more than doubled the number of vendors at the market since she started managing it. She said she has also tried to expand it even more several times by asking the city to close off more streets.

"Every time we go to the Transportation Committee or their meetings, they tell us no," Scott said. "We've tried for a couple of years to double the size of the market and they keep telling us 'no.'"

Scott said the city also turned down her requests to hold events at the farmers market, like a Children's Day.

"Having a Children's Day, which has nothing to do with the mission of a farmers market, is not engaging a farmers market," Mayor Hines said.

Some of Scott's vendors and the customers who frequent the farmers market said the changes will take some getting used to.

Jean Ward has been coming to the farmers market for years.

"My dad and I used to go down there every Saturday morning and buy fresh vegetables and fruits that they were selling there," she said.

And farmer John Obenshain said the announcement was hard on him.

"I hate change, I'd like to be coming back here," he said. "I like coming in here to meet the people. I really like that because we have an awful lot of real good people coming here and I appreciate them."

Scott said the farmers market she runs is now looking for another place to meet since they won't be able to use public property. She said some people have offered their yards as a new location.

Meanwhile, Mayor Hines said current vendors are encouraged to apply for a place at the new farmers market.