"It has been going very well. The numbers are growing each week, and the people are encouraging. The market is going at least until Christmas, and picking up again in spring, but hopefully we can get it all year round." Irene Menzies and her daughter, Natalie, have been pleased with the market and customers' response to their selection of homemade cushions, placemats, tote bags, baby items and other fabric crafts.
"I think it's going to be great. I think it is what Summerside really needs. It is an outlet (for small vendors) and it is a gathering place for the community." Manager Gerry Reichheld is enthusiastic about the prospects for the market, especially after a history of transient markets in the region. "I think it is wonderful. It's right here on the waterfront, lots of parking, easily convenient for both vendors and consumers; it's hard to imagine a better spot than this," he said. "They've done a lot of work to get it to this point. It looks like a place where you can do business, and we are doing a roaring business," he said.
Summerside Regional Development Corporation (SRDC) general manager Arnold Croken has been a strong supporter of the market concept. "The plans for the Holman Building are centred around creating a centre of activity, to bring some life to the downtown core," he said. "We're focusing on innovative technology companies, and that sector, to attract to this building, and we felt that the farmers' market would be a good fit for those kinds of companies," which show demographics of employees who would be oriented to farmers' market consumables, Croken explained.
"It was a good blend in the building for what we are trying to do. It's a bit of a historical feeling when you are in there, with the bricks and the mortar, and it's a public place where people can gather and chat," he said.
City councillor Norma McColeman praised market staff, vendors and clients on giving the market such a strong start, and promised continued city support as it is needed. She identified the city's role as a facilitator for the initiative, but reminded the patrons and vendors that they are the heart of the market and would ultimately determine its strength. Gerard Greenan, minister of education, who is legislative member for the Summmerside constituency and spokesperson for the province which is the majority partner in the SRDC, offered a positive outlook for the future of the market.
"It's a great venue. We want people to 'Buy P.E.I.,' and we are doing what we can - through Fisheries, Agriculture, Community and Cultural Affairs - to promote local Island businesses and initiatives such as this," he said.