Sunday, July 08, 2001

Market moves, business grooves

New location looks promising

By Sarah Buehrle
Enquirer contributor

        DRY RIDGE — Rural tradition and rural growth came together Saturday at the grand opening of the Grant County Farmers Market at its new location in the Dry Ridge Outlet Center.

        Nine vendors, many of whom formerly sold their wares on U.S. Highway 25, were optimistic about the market's new location. Business had slowed on U.S. 25 since the nearby Wal-Mart relocated, and many felt that a move for the market would bring the community and farmers closer together.

        “I think there's a lot of promise here,” said Rodney Stephenson of Stephenson's Produce and Pets.

        Mr. Stephenson, joined by his wife and son, said the grand opening was busier than mornings at the old location.

        Martha Fulks, a Dry Ridge resident who had shopped at the old market, agreed. “This is the most activity that I've seen up here in a year or two.”

        Kentucky State Rep. Royce Adams (D-Dry Ridge) said he is interested in helping the farmers get more business. “With the decrease in tobacco, we need more ways to supplement the farmers' income.”

        Mr. Adams suggested the Dry Ridge location to the struggling Farmers Market last fall. He said that while the new location may not be an overnight success, the farmers market and the outlet stores would help bring one another more business.

        Donna Nehring, president of the Farmers Market, praised the outlet center for its help in getting the market settled into its new home. The center built the market's permanent vendors' stalls in its parking lot free of charge.

        One unusual feature of the open-air market is that the vendors will accept coupons from Women, Infants and Children, a federal grant program that offers food vouchers to new mothers in order to stress nutri tion.

        Ms. Nehring said that if the grand opening was any indication, “I think we'll sell out by noon every time that we are here.”

       The Farmers Market, located off Interstate 75 at Exit 159, is open Saturday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. until the vendors sell out. A Thursday night may be added. Grant County residents interested in joining the market can call (859) 824-0552 before Aug. 31.


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