Despite numerous changes being made due to COVID-19 restrictions and the move to a new venue, the Rimbey Farmers Market is flourishing.
“It’s just been fantastic,” said market manager Gayle Rondeel.
“The number of businesses at the market are up and the number of customers we have been seeing is also higher than in the past.”
The weekly Saturday morning market was slated to start up on May 2, but had to wait a month until the provincial order limiting gatherings was amended on June 1. It has also held off on celebrating the market’s 40 year anniversary because of the restrictions that are still in place.
However, Rondeel added though that everyone has been very respectful in adhering to the recommendations.
“It really hasn’t been an issue since we started,” she said.
“All of the vendors and customers are following the physical distancing measures and the guidelines surrounding masks and face shield for vendors. As well, the local health inspector has been great to work with and very happy with how things have been operating.”
While the support from local and area residents continues to be strong, explained Rondeel, there has been an influx of new vendors and customers.
“There are many new vendors and a lot of customers that have never shopped at our market before,” she said.
“The market has always been very popular among the local residents and that continues to be our key to success.
“I believe that is why the vendor come back, because they can count on a consistent level of sales each week from our local population.”
One other change this season is the market’s location, having moved from PasKaPoo Park to the parking lot of the Rimbey Ridge Hotel & Suites on the east side of Rimbey.
“Being an outdoor market, the move could have hurt, but has ended up being a great move,” she said.
“With work being done on roads at the park and with all of the rain, it simply wouldn’t have been practical. It also would have created a hard time for everyone and likely torn up the grass.
“With the hotel offering up their space, things couldn’t have worked out more perfectly.”
The market will continue to run each week from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. throughout the summer.