2 cents on the farmers market
Re: “Farmers market future in jeopardy” [Volume 9, Issue 4 bit.ly/2V31tv1]
I have lived in La Mesa Village for six years. I am a retired civil servant who was active in one of the first organizational development departments created by the military in the mid-‘80s. I am offering some input regarding the farmers market. I am not looking for an RFP. When the current version of the market was set up, I observed the process and talked to vendors and customers. Here is a short overview of what I noted from my observations and questions.
I believe the current configuration of the event is far superior to the previous. Some tweaks are required. The new configuration opened up the target area in many ways. It created more walking space. It provided more visibility to fire, police and rescue personnel. Parking was also improved.
This is a small intercity event. La Mesa Boulevard in the market area is very diverse, and is never going to please all current proprietors. For example, it may be hard to sell mattresses during a market event, but the owners can set up small display models in front of their stores.
What are the restaurants doing to increase their visibility? One of the restaurant owners mentioned selling breads to improve his restaurant’s visibility. Great idea. It’s out-of-the-box thinking that will change the Village image and hopefully create the desired state. Maybe the street vendors can be reduced in number and set along the periphery of the vendor areas. Have restaurant owners create appetizers of what they sell and place them on the street in front of their restaurant. Put signage on the display telling the customers where that wonderful food is coming from. Bring a librarian to the front of the bookstore in a small booth selling books or telling stories to kids about fruits and vegetables. Get out of the box! It’s supposed to be about the community, right?
Overall, the bullet points identified in the recommended changes by [city staff], taken at face value, may be good tweaks.
My overall recommendation: The diversity of the Village businesses and owners should work for them not against them. Do you sacrifice the many for the sake of the few if the overall bottom line has increased or improved? I don’t know the answer to that. I do know that personalities cause the most problems in any organization. The La Mesa Village Association is a small organization. These folks own stores and work in a robust community. They may want to bring in someone with professional business interpersonal communication skills to help direct the process. This person must not be a part of the LMVA team. They should be a professional at dealing with people and processes. If my intuition still works like it did back when I was active, the team members, i.e., the LMVA, will say they don’t need this kind of decision-making input. They can do it themselves. Then they move on to frustration like I heard throughout the article.
That’s my two cents. Hope it helps someone.
— Ron, La Mesa.