William Smith student Laura Valdmanis ’10 from Minnesota is working on a Community Based Research project with the Geneva Recreation Department to improve the farmer’s market this summer. A German major and mathematics and international relations minor, Valdmanis embraces a plethora of interests, including a passion for community affairs and enthusiasm for locally-grown foods. Among her goals for the summer is the development of a marketing plan that includes identification of the “general customer,” competitors, strengths and weaknesses.
On the opening day, June 11, Valdmanis stood under a tent, beaming, “I am so excited to work here because I have been able to meet interesting people who have given me a great deal of feedback so far.”
Valdmanis counted approximately 200 visitors to the market on that first day, and a total of 27 surveys were completed. It was found that the majority of people would like to see more foods or music and entertainment. In terms of the new layout, there was an almost unanimous positive response. Most who took the survey said they shop for produce, flowers, cheeses and arts and crafts products. Suggestions included the possibility of more market days, especially on the weekends, as well as more food options and perhaps coffee drinks.
Her surveys are given to customers and include questions such as where they live, what they would like to see more of and what they think of the layout. At the end of the day, she hands a questionnaire to the vendors asking about possible additions in terms of more market days, vendors, music or activities.
Valdmanis said she would definitely like to implement a coffee and breakfast stand and add benches. While she seems to be off to a good start, she quickly notes this is “Just the beginning because we will be seeing a lot more produce coming into season!”
The market is located in the Exchange Street parking lot and opens every Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Oct. 6.
Check out the Geneva Farmer’s Market Web page for additional information and a preview of the market layout redesign plans.