A farmers’ market in Redwood City is trying to get approval to set up twice a week in the Outdoor Supply Hardware’s parking lot, but is being met by opposition from a nearby business.
“All that I’m looking to do is open a successful farmers’ market, bring more foot traffic to the area and help the businesses in the area,” said Jerry Lami, executive director of West Coast Farmers Market Association.
He met with Outdoor Supply Hardware and agreed to bring a farmers’ market to its parking lot on Sundays and Wednesdays.
“It’s just another avenue to draw people in here, not to take away business from any other retailers,” said Mark Vasquez, store manager at Outdoor Supply Hardware at 2110 Middlefield Road in Redwood City. “Just trying to generate excitement and energy into people coming here to our location.”
However, Sigona’s Farmers Market at 2345 Middlefield Road is worried about this opening.
“We’re very alarmed about this. This would really hurt our business,” said John Sigona Jr., co-owner at Sigona’s Farmers Market.
He said he supports farmers’ markets and that competition under normal circumstances is expected but that a farmers’ market across the street would significantly hurt its business.
“We are 100% for farmers’ markets. We want them to thrive, particularly where they are most needed, in areas where access for fresh food may be limited, or in downtown areas, especially where business needs a boost, which farmers’ markets can provide,” Sigona said in an email.
Lami met with Sigona when the city told him the grocery store was opposed to a market being set up. After listening to what Lami had to say and to its offer to have Sigona’s Farmers Market set up its products at the market, Sigona said he was not interested because he believed it would hurt its business based on past experience.
“We are 100% convinced, based on all our experience, what’s going to happen,” Sigona said. “And we’re not thriving as it is.”
He said it does have a very loyal following base. And as of now, it has more than 1,300 signatures on its petition to support them. He also emailed the City Council, city planners and the Planning Commission with his concerns. And he pointed out that the location was already a highly congested area.
“I’m not trying to hurt Sigona’s. I’m trying to help the people in the area,” Lami said. “I don’t believe nine hours a week would hurt anybody, especially when we hand-picked the hours to coincide with slow periods of time in that area.”
He said he also plans to work with a local food bank to donate extra produce that wasn’t sold.
Lami requested a use permit from the city and a meeting is tentatively scheduled to be heard by the zoning administrator Aug. 12.
(650) 344-5200, ext. 105