The State of the Farm Stand - 6/14/23
How things are going, from Dave and Sara
We want to thank you all for staying with us while we reinvent our business after a major economic downturn, the heavy blow of big corporate grocery stores and grocery delivery competition, and the challenges of the post pandemic economy.
A few of you have made it your mission to make sure we continue! Without you, we wouldn't still be here. I will be thanking those that have done that soon by name once I have their permission to print names.
This newsletter is widely read and long time customers that don't come in anymore still read the newsletter. We would love to hear from you!
The Downtown Farm Stand has really been, and continues to be a grassroots operation. It's always worth telling the truth, and we should say that it was always our goal to help downtown thrive but we've had almost no support or promotion from outside entities, especially in the last two years of our downsizing. Again the reason we are still here has been because of the grassroots support from loyal customers and of course because Sara and I have been willing to spend all of our time and savings to keep it going and to keep our building and our business in good financial standing.
We are still, and always will be committed to organic food and farming and all of the good things it does for our community. However we had to scramble as we lost many 10s of thousands of dollars in a very short span of time with almost no warning. Our amazing and unique organic deli had to close quickly and it won't be opening back up. There just wasn't the demand anymore after 14 years of success, and it was a high labor, high food cost operation and ultimately inflation was the last straw. We also downsized the grocery due to corporate competition and low sales. Even grocery delivery sales went down much lower than they were before the pandemic due to the rise of corporate online delivery services. That's a bummer, but an unfortunate reality.
We still believe that our community could thrive by focusing on a food and farm to table - organic agriculture economy. We believe our building could be a hub for that and we have ideas. But without the will from leadership, and the buy-in from MORE consumers, the local food system will stay the way it is, which is in decline.
But enough of the bad news, we are happy to be finding new ways to bring in cash flow to keep the Farm Stand grocery open. The Second Story Lounge is starting to catch on at our 1 year anniversary! We are also happy to have our friends at AppeThai renting the Farm Stand kitchen! We have added amenities to the Second Story like a top notch PA system that allows us to do things like karaoke, and it looks like we have something good there, and we are all for anything that brings people together and makes them happy! Of course delicious food, barbecue (our new smoker), quality cocktails, and live music in a very nice, historical setting are all a winning combination! They take work and commitment and they make a difference. We're not in the clear yet, so please keep promoting and supporting us! Sometimes when we talk about some success we've had, we notice that business goes down, so please don't think we are out of the woods yet, we are still week to week on our finances.
To be clear, the grocery is not doing well and we have simply chosen to keep it open to make sure that our loyal customers still have access to high quality local organic food and to support our farmers. We have no employees in the grocery store and we're doing the best we can to keep it stocked and inventories updated and deliveries made. It's basically a non-profit venture at this point and it's something that Sara and I hope to keep going. We wait to see that what happens if we keep the store in place, like a dormant seed, will it still be there if the corporations decide to leave? Maybe once again it will be valuable to the rest of the community and they will support it with their dollars. If you've read this far and you want to volunteer in the store with stocking, inventories, and running the cash register, we could use your help! We can compensate you with organic produce! Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you again if you have been supporting our efforts thus far. It's been a true example of the community willing us to survive!