I began covering the monthly Mayor and Aldermen board meetings for the town of Jonesborough recently as one of my beats for the Herald & Tribune. The farmers market, which was on the agenda for the two meetings I had to cover, was approved this past week. I’m excited to visit it once it’s up and going.
Article published in the Dec. 17, 2013 issue of the Herald & Tribune
Lease paves way for Boone Street Market
The Town of Jonesborough and the Jonesborough Farmers Market was approved during the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting last week, paving the way for the opening of the Boone Street Market sometime next year.
“If you are talking about a win-win partnership, this is your prototype,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe said.
He said the market needs a little help, and the town has the perfect space for it.
“I predict this Farmers Market to do really, really well with this location,” Wolfe said.
The lease agreement was made for a location on Boone Street once used as an Exxon gas station. The lease will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014, and will terminate on Jan. 31, 2017.
“The individuals involved in the Farmers Market are very passionate about their pursuit, and that is one of the key ingredients for any successful venture in Jonesborough,” Wolfe said. “This space is the logical choice for a very successful Farmers Market operation.”
The market has agreed to pay $1 per year subject to meeting the following criteria: increase sales opportunities for local farmers; provide farmers the use of a commercial kitchen to make additional, salable products from their harvest; offer visitors and residents ready access to fresh, locally-produced food; and support the economic development of Jonesborough through a year-round, six-day-a-week business in downtown.
The agreement states that the Town of Jonesborough may review the financial records prior to the expiration of the lease to determine whether the market has the financial capacity to pay some reasonable amount of rent and, therefore, make an adjustment in the rent. That must be done in a 90-day written notice to the market.
During the first two years of the lease, the Town of Jonesborough will pay one-half of the utility payments for electrical, gas and water associated with the operation of the building. After that two-year period, the arrangement will be reviewed to determine if an adjustment needs to be made.
The Boone Street Market will offer produce, meats, eggs, cheese, dairy, pasta, baked goods, processed foods and ready to eat foods that are grown within 100 miles of Jonesborough.
The lease states the market will have a minimum schedule of operation from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Store Project Coordinator Karen Childress said she thinks the lease is great and a generous offer. She said she is incredibly thankful for the support the town is putting behind the market to make it work.
“We have been working on this for months now,” Childress said. “This is the end of a long process. There were no surprises.”
The plaza the market will occupy, she said, is a beautiful public space, and the location is both visible and inviting to the public.
With the lease in place, funding is being sought in order to renovate the building, which is estimated to cost roughly $142,000.
The first donation of $3,500 has been offered by Farm Credit Services, and will be presented on Wednesday, Dec. 18.
“It’s really exciting that Farm Credit Services is interested in this project,” Childress said. “They stepped up to get the ball rolling.”
The Town of Jonesborough will keep track of all donations and contributions for the market, which will be tax-deductible.
Town Administrator Bob Browning is working closely with Childress on generating some funding through grants.
“We think it’s a really good thing,” he said of the market. “It provides an opportunity for those sales to go on at least six days a week.”
Browning also said the agreement has ramifications for healthy eating for area residents and the ability to support those who are trying to generate income from growing quality produce locally.
“The (Farmers Market) board has really top-notch people, and the business plan is well thought out,” Browning said. “They spent time doing research and making good decisions. We are impressed.”
Browning went on to say he has every reason to think the outlet store will be successful.