Flint, MI–The Flint Farmers Market will reopen Tuesday, June 9, leaving vendors and market staff alike feeling hopeful and relieved.
Market Manager Karianne Martus said deciding to open the market was a tough decision.
“It is a lot of pressure with so many small businesses resting on the shoulders of the market, but … I have been very worried about keeping our market family safe and healthy while trying to stay within the guidelines from the government,” says market manager Karianne Martus.
For the past two months the market has been holding outdoor events and offering curbside pickup from indoor vendors.
The market will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 3p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The market will also continue online ordering with curbside pickup service on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-6 p.m. The outdoor pavilion will be open with social distancing guidelines in place as a Growers’ Only Market on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the market is taking certain precautions, including asking customers to wear masks inside the market. Market staff will also clean all bathrooms every hour and place touchless hand sanitizer stations throughout the market.
Vendors also are taking precautions to prevent COVID-19.
“We’re going to be observing the six foot spacing, staff will be wearing a mask, we do have a Plexiglas area at our cashier station and we will be sanitizing frequently touched items,” Gail Burris, one of the owners of Those Nature People, said. “The market is a bigger, more open area, so there is a bit more flexibility in that.”
The reopening of the Flint Farmers Market has some vendors excited to go back to business.
“It feels like a new beginning really, it’s like we’re starting all over and it’s good. We’re taking new steps and it’s a new adventure,” Tamara Mathis owner of Tee’s Salads, said.
Mathis moved into a new location right before the coronavirus outbreak and was hit hard financially by the sudden halt in sales. She is not alone in the number of small businesses looking for economic relief.
“Many applied for relief, but few received it,” Martus said. “Uptown Reinvestment Corporation actually owns the market, and with their assistance were able to abate the rent and utilities for the market vendors for April and May. That was a huge help for many of the vendors.”
The Flint Farmer’s Market is an institution for small businesses in Flint and Martus said its reopening is indicative of the Flint economy bouncing back.
“Flint comes together – we help each other, and I think that we have been through many struggles in the last few decades, and each time we rise to the occasion,” Martus said.
Vendors and small businesses are also feeling hopeful from the Market reopening. “We have 100 poercent faith in it bouncing back. So far, we’ve had a good response from our customers, and we’re just trying to remain as positive as possible” Burris said.