INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Organizers of the Broad Ripple farmers market thought their winter market would be out in the cold thanks to the pandemic, but instead they are revitalizing a vacant department store space.
“I think it’s fair to say the winter market was in jeopardy,” details Colleen Fanning, executive director of the Broad Ripple Village Association (BRVA), “Our last host, Liter House, was amazing, but they just didn’t have enough square footage to accommodate these changing COVID-19 restrictions.”
“Think about it, you are looking at a grocery store, and even grocery stores get crowded,” details Mark Demerly, Market Master for the winter version of the market.
The market has roughly 120 vendors in the summer and will have around 40 this winter. During the warmer months, they can average 1,500 shoppers a day and are open on weekends. Many of the vendors count on the market as their only source of income.
“So, this is crucial for [vendors] to feed their families, so this has more far reaching economic impact than just our area,” explains Fanning.
BRVA adds that the market is also an established spot for people utilizing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP benefits.
“People are looking at healthier means of eating, and people are eating at home,” says Demerly, “It’s a two for one sort of ratio, so their money goes so much further.”
“SNAP families do sometimes have a tough time finding fresh produce. We do have food deserts here in Indianapolis. This is a great option for them,” adds Fanning.
The winter farmers market will now move in the old Glendale Macy’s Department Store space. It is currently being redeveloped by Kite, but the company is letting the market utilize the entire bottom floor for their market.
“I don’t think this was an easy, ‘Yes,’ for someone in their position, but they have been willing community partners,” says Fanning.
“We will have everyone lined around the perimeter, which allows us to allow people to que up in the middle for those vendors,” says Demerly talking social distancing.
The Broad Ripple farmers market will move into their winter location starting on November 7, and until then they will be at a nearby parking lot by Lowe’s.