Glendale's weekly farmers market making a move

The Glendale Farmers Market on Brand Boulevard is turning over a new leaf under new management.

On Jan. 9, some of the 15 to 17 merchants who had been selling produce and sundries along Brand Boulevard between Wilson Avenue and Broadway for more than 21 years will move to the parking lot at First Baptist Church, located along the east side of Maryland Avenue, north of Wilson. 

Although many merchants said they have pedaled their wares along Brand for more than two decades, some have said they weren’t invited to sell their goods at the new location.

Christopher Nyerges, who has managed the city-operated market for 13 years, said the city is turning the market over to the Downtown Glendale Assn., which decided to relocate it to the new site. But he said he doesn’t want to make the move.

“I love this location,” he said. “We’re here because it’s a good traffic flow and it works.”

He said he doesn’t think moving the market a block away along less-traveled Maryland Avenue is a good idea.

“When you have an established business that people recognize, why mess with it?” he said. “(Association members) think, in so many words, it looks trashy and dirty, so they want to get it off of Brand. But it’s not going to have any traffic flow around the corner. The traffic is right here.”

However, Rick Lemmo, president of the Downtown Glendale Assn., said a farmers market committee has studied the issue since December 2012. He said many of the merchants didn’t show an interest in moving around the corner.

When the new market opens, it will expand to about 35 vendors, be away from dangerous vehicular traffic and have restroom access, Lemmo said.

“I want to dispel all the silly rumors as to why it’s moving,” Lemmo said. “Years ago on Brand, it was a nice place to start, but it was hard for disabled people to get through.”

Parking is also an issue because vendors take several spaces along Brand, he added.

“That was a double whammy. People had to park farther away,” Lemmo said. “The merchants there lost parking in front of their businesses.” 

Lemmo also said the association wants the market to be “walkable and convenient.”

Currently, market vendors pay 7% of their gross sales to the city and between $10 and $15 a week for their space, Lemmo said, adding that there are no plans to change that cost structure.

For vendor Jesus Garcia, who owns Garcia Farms in Riverside, the current location was just fine.

“Right here, it’s a nice place. We’ve been here 15 years. It’s a long time. We have a lot of regular customers. The people who work in the offices, they come here to buy produce and fruit,” Garcia said. “Maybe in another place, it will change. I don’t know if I’ll have the same customers in two weeks.”

Cary Harris of Harris Family Apiaries in Pomona said he’s concerned that the new market won’t be given the proper amount of publicity.

“Not one of these customers who comes here knows to go to this new place starting in two weeks. So all the clientele will be gone,” he said.

But Helen McDonagh, a member of the executive board and marketing committee for the Downtown Glendale Assn., said word about the new location is being sent out. 

“We are making sure that the new market is promoted well to both the local and business community. It is a new era in downtown Glendale, and all for the better,” McDonagh said.

However, Nyerges said he isn’t so sure.

“The market will die in an out-of-the-way place down there. From a business sense, it’s not a good decision if you ask me,” said Nyerges, a Pasadena resident. “I loved coming here. But now I’ll have no reason to come to Glendale.” 


Follow Tim Traeger on Twitter: @TraegerTim.


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