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July 17, 2013

Ferndale’s Rust Belt Market to host Sunday farmers market starting July 21

By Joshua Gordon
C & G Staff Writer

FERNDALE — The Rust Belt Market in Ferndale has provided a space for local artists and entrepreneurs to reach the public and sell their products since 2010. From photographs and jewelry to clothes and coasters, there is always something new to enjoy.

At the end of July, the owners of the Rust Belt, Tiffany and Chris Best, will bring about a brand new experience for those who visit the market.

Starting July 21 and every Sunday after, the Rust Belt will be home to a farmers market in the building’s 4,000-square-foot event space in the middle of all the vendors. Tiffany Best said there has been a want for a Ferndale farmers market for quite some time and now they hope to provide that experience to residents and visitors.

“When we first started up, we were approached by someone to try and start a farmers market, but we didn’t have the space for it,” Tiffany Best said. “Now, with the remodeling and the open middle space, we want to take advantage of what we have and what Ferndale needs. We want to provide local residents a place to shop for produce, along with the art and other things the Rust Belt offers.”

Tiffany and Chris Best have worked on opening the farmers market with Jesse Welter, who has spearheaded the startup of the farmers market and who sells photographs from his shop, Parker Creative, at the Rust Belt.

Welter said he has helped start to recruit quality produce vendors for the market and is still looking for some who are interested.

“The owners encouraged us who had shops to create events for the event space that would draw people in, and I had this idea of a farmers market,” Welter said. “There is no other farmers market open on Sunday in the area — most are open on Saturdays — so this will serve as kind of a last chance for people to buy these kinds of fresh produce if they didn’t get it on Saturday.”

The Rust Belt houses about 50 store owners and most are local artists, Welter said. Like the products already there, the farmers market would be another way for visitors to shop locally.

“I believe that people go to farmers markets because they have an interest in acquiring local goods from local businesses,” Welter said. “We have a lot of like-minded shoppers that come in here and they are coming to shop. This will be a win-win (situation) for the produce suppliers and the consumers because the suppliers have one last chance to get rid of product and I think this is an organic type of town, so the farmers market will do well with our shoppers.”

Tiffany Best agreed with Welter’s idea that Ferndale residents like to shop locally, so having a local farmers market would be beneficial.

“The Ferndale mindset is to shop local and keep it local,” she said. “We have found such a welcoming home and community for something like the Rust Belt that I don’t think it could strive in any other community. The farmers market seemed like the next add-on that we would be able to do that would be the perfect fit for the customer base we already have.”

The farmers market will be open the entire time the Rust Belt is open on Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The farmers market is planned to run through the winter, if produce is available.

Outside of the produce suppliers and consumers, Tiffany Best said the farmers market will also help out the city in general, as well as the shops already established at the Rust Belt.

“I think it will probably draw more of the local shoppers, but we also have a lot of visitors from outside communities and that will bring some foot traffic to Ferndale,” Tiffany said. “I think it will also bring out the Ferndale local who doesn’t visit the market every weekend, and they will see that our shops offer a lot of new merchandise and it is not the same thing every weekend.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Joshua Gordon at jgordon@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1077.