Transformation Continues At Nashville Farmers' Market
by Chris Cannon
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Nashville Farmers' Market has been plagued with financial issues for more than two years, but changes are turning things around.
Several new vendors have opened businesses at the Market in recent months.
Music City Crepes became a permanent part of the Market in December. The owner said he knew it was the right spot for his business.
"Something crowded and a lot of traffic," said owner Sam Boshra. "A very, very good choice."
Monday afternoon, the Market's new executive director spoke before Mayor Karl Dean during an annual budget meeting.
She told the Mayor she has been very busy during her first three months on the job.
"Evaluating and implementing new policies and rules, as well as working on new vendor relationships to improve the market conditions," Tasha Kennard said.
With new management in place, the transformation of the market can now move forward. Kennard said the months ahead will not be easy, and a possible 3 percent budget cut will make the situation even more difficult.
"I've got to be realistic with the staff, and with the community, that it's going to take an investment in this market to be able to transform the market for the long term," Kennard explained.
Kennard said construction of the new Nashville Sounds ballpark will go along way in helping boost business at the market.
"It's not only going to provide more housing in the area, more retail in the area, but it's also going to bring more community members to our space than ever before," Kennard said. "And we know that ballpark is going to be able to extend our programming, we want to do multi-generational programming, more activities for kids and families."
One of Kennard's biggest priorities is to increase occupancy at the market for each of the 362 days it is open.
"Our goal is to maintain as many merchants as possible, all throughout the year," Kennard said.
The Market still reliant on city funds to operate, but plans are in the works to increase revenue, will cutting cost, in hopes of balancing the budget.