The million-dollar mark was reached in May. “We’re very excited,” said board president Betsy Anderson. “That’s one million dollars generated here and staying here in the local economy.” She noted that approximately 90% of that income returned to the local farmers and other food producers who provide the market’s inventory.
Board treasurer Marlene Barkheimer sees this milestone as a vindication of the Local Roots business model, a cooperative owned jointly by both consumer and producer members. “People don’t think we’re that big,” she said, “but in two years we’ve done pretty well.” Other communities have expressed interest in establishing their own markets along the same lines; Ashland has already started their own Local Roots, and communities from West Virginia, Indiana, California, Massachusetts, and Virginia have contacted the market board for more information.
The market board decided to hold the June 9 event as a way to say “thank you” to the customers who have helped Local Roots succeed. “Our business model wouldn’t have worked without the people,” Barkheimer said. Customers, producers, and volunteers alike feel a sense of ownership in the market, she added: “It’s not just A market, it’s THEIR market.” The celebration is scheduled to include cooking demonstrations and sampling, music by the Canned Goods band, and a special cake provided by Anderson.
The market, located at 140 S. Walnut St. in Wooster, is currently open on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; the café is open weekdays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Products are arranged by broad categories such as produce, meats, dairy, baked goods, and other items, and within those areas by producer so that shoppers can maintain the connection to the people who grew, raised, or made the food. Everyone is welcome to shop in the market, though the online order system is available to Local Roots members only.
Local Roots will continue its missions of education and community involvement throughout the year, working with other people and organizations in the community. For information on upcoming events or membership, visit the website at http://www.localrootswooster.com or sign up for the monthly newsletter.
Published: May 31, 2012