Glendale News-Press: Glendale Farmers Market Thriving After Relaunch

Glendale News-Press: Glendale Farmers Market Thriving After Relaunch

Vendors express happiness with increased turnout following market’s return to Brand Boulevard location.

By Arin Mikailian, [email protected]

A gloomy June wasn’t the best start for drawing crowds to the renewed Brand Boulevard farmers market, but with the summer sun settling in more people are stopping by, and vendors say they’re happy with the turnout.

Alan Janoyan, owner of JRC Coffee, said things have picked up since the Downtown Glendale Market relaunched two months ago on the city’s main thoroughfare between California and Wilson avenues on Thursdays.

“We’re getting a lot of regulars,” he said. “We’re getting consistent customers, so that’s what we like about it. We’re going to use that foundation to build.”

For nearly 20 years, the market used to be set up a block south on Brand. When the Downtown Glendale Assn. took over the weekly event, it moved it to the parking lot of a church on Maryland Avenue in early 2014, but attendance dropped sharply.

After shutting down for six months, the market reopened with an almost entirely new lineup of vendors — a mix of traditional produce sellers and small boutique businesses like Janoyan’s and Lucky Cow, a Monrovia-based jerky manufacturer.

Co-owner Jeremy Leal has sold his beef jerky at other farmers markets in the San Gabriel Valley and so far enjoys setting up his booth in Glendale, but notes the difference in the Jewel City.

“It’s more of like an urban setting, all of the other settings were more like a suburbia-style setting,” he said. “This is more business class.”

And that’s what the association is banking on to make the revamped market a success.

The event used to run from mid-morning until the early afternoon, but the hours are now 2 to 7 p.m. in hopes of enticing downtown employees who get off work and might want to do a little bit of shopping on the way home.

Stacy Hampton, representing her family almond and walnut business, the Hampton Ranch, said she’s also seeing more and more families strolling along Brand in the early evening hours. She said she’s got a few returning customers herself, including a grandma who buys snack packs of Hampton’s almonds and sneaks it into her grandchildren’s school lunches.

Tim Gallagher, the association’s spokesman, said there’s more foot traffic now compared to the church parking lot, and he’s glad about that. While there is room to draw in even more people, the goal isn’t to make money.

Previously, the association received a percentage of sales from each weekly farmers market. Under the new management team, Calabasas-based Raw Inspiration, which operates many markets throughout the Los Angeles-area, vendors pay a flat rate.

“To us, it’s not really a matter of sales going up or down, it’s more of how many people enjoyed it, how many go to experience it this week,” Gallagher said.

Making a profit, however, is important to Janoyan and his home business. Though he’s not making as much as he’d like to right now, Janoyan’s grateful for the returning customers, especially since Glendale is his hometown.

“We’re committed to the market,” he said.

Source: Glendale News-Press