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New farmers' market, artisan village opening in Smiths Falls, Ont. next week

The Artisan Village at the Falls on Maple Avenue in Smiths Falls, Ont. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa) The Artisan Village at the Falls on Maple Avenue in Smiths Falls, Ont. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)

Picking up fruit and purchasing art - it’s a combination soon to be available to shoppers in Smiths Falls, Ont.

The town will soon be home to the region’s newest farmers' market, located on Maple Avenue off of Main Street.

"We've created here a wonderful space where people can come, create, share and collaborate," owner Mike Adams told CTV News while walking through the newly renovated Artisans Village at the Falls. 

The 9,000 sq. ft. building features 10 rooms ranging in size, which people can lease monthly, and display the work of various local artists.

"Rather than being in a basement or a shed out the back, they can actually come work, create, and also sell and meet their customers," Adams said. "I wanted to be able to create a vision where people can come and create anything they want anytime they want."

Rooms range from 130 sq. ft. up to 550 sq. ft., and start at $349 per month, all-inclusive. 

"We've got a portrait artist already, we also have a person who does vases and we have jewellery," Adams noted. "We also have another gentleman, he does watercolour and he also does upcycling."

"We had our open house just last week with art from one end to the other, it was absolutely packed and everybody loved it," he said. "The difference between this space and others is they also have the ability to retail their items to sell to the public."

And that's where the new Farmers Market at the Falls comes into play. 

Smiths Falls, Ont. newest farmers' market will open next week. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)

Adams said there is enough space outside to host 30 vendors, and it is something that has been lacking in the town for at least a decade.

"The farmers' market goes hand in hand with the artisans, so people can grow and show what they have, and also tour the Artisan Village at the same time," Adams said. 

The town of Smiths Falls is fully behind the idea, and with it being privately run, it cuts down on red tape.

"Private enterprise changes the dynamic of a farmers' market," said Julia Crowder, Economic Development and Tourism Manager for the town. 

"There is no board, it takes less time to set up, there's less bureaucracy I guess in order to facilitate it," she said. "He can choose who he wants to come in, he can negotiate with them, there isn't formal board meetings, so having this type of investment is really positive and gets this off the ground much, much quicker."

Crowder says Smiths Falls is growing, with 24 new businesses opening their doors in 2022, and a farmers' market in the centre of town will help to grow it more.

"The town over the last census has seen a 4.5 per cent population increase, it's huge," she noted. "We've seen so many new people come to the community, creative people come to the community, we're seeing younger entrepreneurs and professionals come, so it's really important to have the spaces to support and grow that."

Mike Adams walks with Julia Crowder from the Town of Smiths Falls and his father Brian at the Artisans Village at the Falls in Smiths Falls. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)

Crowder also noted the retail shift over the past few years, with businesses downsizing and moving to an online presence. 

"Farmers' markets and places like open air markets are incubators, so people who are home-based businesses, it gives them an opportunity to connect with their clients and customers in a retail setting without a large overhead," she said. 

"Coming from other communities, especially in Muskoka where we are seeing these other open-air markets, it was really something that was lacking in Smiths Falls, so the idea was really great and I wanted to do whatever we could to help support that and see new investment in the community," Crowder said. 

What also makes this farmers market unique is its Friday start time of 3 p.m., able to take advantage of a weekend influx of visitors, and also helping out the vendors who attend other markets on Saturday and Sunday.

"Everything is about starting it small and local and growing," Adams said. "We'd like to see Smiths Falls compete with all the other towns and show them that we are just as good if not better."

"I think the time is right, I think the people are ready, I think the customers are there and they want to get outside, and I think it's about time to get the farmers running again as it should, and for a very long time," he added.

The Farmers Market at the Falls will officially open on June 2, and run until Oct. 13.

A 10'x10' stall costs $25 or $300 for the season, plus a $25 administration fee.

The market is currently looking for vendors offering fresh produce, baked goods and handmade crafts, and applicants can register on their website. Top Stories

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