Buying fresh, local produce might not be the only reason to visit the monthly farmers’ market in Irvington.
Supporting the market not only helps local growers, but also Irvington merchants.
The market, which runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month, draws large crowds to the small town of Irvington. According to the market’s Facebook page, they feature over 100 vendors from across the region, and also sell jewelry and artwork. The market was also voted Best Farmers Market on Virginia’s East Coast by Virginia Living Magazine, in 2012.
When the market shuts down, many shoppers flock to local businesses in search of a few minutes of air conditioning and respite from the summer sun. Some stores provide water bottles to patrons as they shop as an added incentive
to come inside.
The increase in foot traffic means that small merchants like River and Creek and the Dandelion see a noticeable difference in sales. Both stores are located in the heart of Irvington, and sell women’s clothing and housewares.
A Dandelion employee said that, while their store frequently has busy Saturdays, “It is always a busy Saturday when the farmers market is here, because more people are in the area to come in and shop.”
Holly Munce, an employee at River and Creek boutique, says the market makes an enormous difference in Saturday profits.
“There is definitely more traffic on a farmers market Saturday,” Munce said, “We have a big influx of people coming from outside the area into Irvington and it does increase sales traffic in our store.”
Both the Dandelion and River and Creek rely heavily on both local traffic and guests at the Tides Inn, also located in Irvington, for sales. Farmers market Saturdays are the perfect storm for these small businesses, because they combine regular patrons with a large number of non-local shoppers, increasing traffic in the stores exponentially.
While Irvington tends to quiet down after the peak summer season at the Tides, the market continues to run until November. The post-season market offers the promise of busy Saturdays despite the lessened Tides traffic.
Employees like Munce are thrilled with the changes the market brings.
“I wish it was more than once a month!” Munce said, with a laugh.