Farmers Markets'

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by brentsawyer, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. brentsawyer

    brentsawyer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 663

    I have posted on here a few times about starting a tree farm this winter and that will be going on as planned. However, I have been really focusing and brainstorming the past couple of days about cheap marketing for it and went to the public library yesterday and picked up some books on marketing personal businesses when I thought of a great idea I hope.

    I live in a city of approx 250,000 people that is surrounded by many fast growing smaller cities and towns in central Kentucky. Our city, Lexington has a growing farmers market that is basically on Main Street downtown on Saturdays and on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It begins in early April and ends late November. Fees are $50 for the year to become a member and $10 each day your there to provide for porta-poties and for the lease from the city. I called today and am 12 on the list for this year to get in to. I was thinking that this would be a great way to get my name out there and to start selling my trees. I would bring mostly my flowering trees in early summer and put them in either 7-10 gal pots or B&B them. They are going to be about 1" caliper trees and about 8' tall trees and smaller. I was thinking of selling them in the $30-50 range and maybe, maybe offer free delivery with the purchase of two trees to our couty and again maybe offer installation for something or another. Basically use this 'farmers market' as my storefront to bring in customers later when I have more mature trees in the future.

    As far as setting up times, my fiance said that she is interested in working it and I think that on Saturdays it will require both of us and have her work the Tuesday and Thursday slots and she could do any deliveries after close or arrange when that would be done.

    What I was wondering since I have not been to the farmers market or a farmers market much in years past since I am usually catching up is this a place where people would come prepared to spend this kind of money. I remember that there are other people there that sell plants and alot of herbs and spices but no other tree sellers. Also alot of flower shop setups. Main stipulation of the market is that they require you to grow your product around the immediate area which I will be doing.

    PS My stepfather went religiously for years and there was a tomato guy everyone knew, a this and that guy for this and that that somepeople came to see only and browse everyone else. It does get a ton of traffic everyweek and on some weeks seems 'crowded'. Would be cool to become 'the tree guy' LOL
     
  2. Firefighter698

    Firefighter698 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 29

    Sounds like a good idea. I knew a guy that used to sell exotic flowers down there, he made a killing. If I ever run into "The Tree Guy" while I'm down there, I'll introduce myself.
     
  3. xcopterdoc

    xcopterdoc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 752

    Where I work we have a large nursery and we get alot of business from the landscape shows. Are you planning to sell yur trees in buckets or B&B??
     
  4. xcopterdoc

    xcopterdoc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 752

    My advice is put up a sign on the highway and let em come and get what they want. The people that will come to the farmers market will only want 2 or 3 trees max. So why spend the money and time. sell wholesale in volume.. replant and go from there.
     
  5. brentsawyer

    brentsawyer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 663

    My idea is that the people will be good prospects for landscape jobs and it is a good place to network. Selling 2-3 trees ain't bad b/c I doubt that I'll be able to wholesale this early since I won't have the caliper tree necessary for that. These are basically 'extra' trees that I will have. Probably have to B&B the trees since they will barerooted in a few weeks.
     
  6. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,939

    Any large flea markets near there? You may do better there, if the traffic flow is good. Of course, be ready for, "If I buy 2, do I get them for a dollar?"
    Crawdad
     
  7. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Posts: 1,578

    Sounds like a real cheap way to get good advertisement. You'll probably get lots of installs out of it. Good luck with it
     
  8. brentsawyer

    brentsawyer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 663

    Our farmers market is definitely ten steps above your average flea market as far as demographics go. It is the Saturday social gathering for alot of the towns wealth.
     
  9. lbmd1

    lbmd1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 462

    Brent,
    I think it's a great idea, as a matter of fact, i'll be doing the same thing next year. I grow about 10 differnt varities of ornamental grasses up at my parents land near Boothbay Harbor, Maine. A friend of mine actually said your exact thoughts about selling them at our local farmers market here in Portsmouth, NH. We have the same type of clientel that you're speaking of here. Pretty wealthy, upscale, organic, Bread & Circus shoppers. It's quite the big to-do here on saturday mornings. Figure I can sell 3 gallon grasses at $15-$20 a pop as opposed to the $38.95 they are getting at the nurseries here for a 2 gallon one. I pay about 50-75 cents a piece for them and let them sit in the ground for 2 seasons. not too much maintenance either. They are pretty hardy plants. To get an idea of what we are doing, go to www.willowmist.com and see another companies version of exactly what we are doing. Good luck!

    Mike
     
  10. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,939

    Excellent point. Different demographics. I run a shop for our other business (non green industry) at an indoor flea market on weekends, and at first, I was going to distribute flyers and business cards for my lawn service. I quickly realized these people were not my target audience. Also, the market isn't in my target area, I am trying to shorten the travel time in my mowing route.
    At a recent Christmas show in a neighboring city, I saw the different crowd. The city's "hoitsy-toitsy" crowd. Very little overlap between the flea mkt crowd and these folks. A farmer's market would possibly be a better place for me to get my name out there as well. I'll have to check this out in the spring.
    Crawdad
     

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