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Changes to Come for Dearborn Farmers Market in 2013

With a new manager, the market closes out its 2012 season and prepares for new things next year.

The Dearborn Farmers Market has ended for 2012, and fans of the weekly outdoor event can expect some changes when it reopens in the spring of 2013.

The first of those transitions is already apparent, as new market manager Millie Judd—a Dearborn Heights resident and frequent volunteer of the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce—has taken the place of market founder Joan Reed.

Reed, who started the market under the chamber five years ago, said she resigned from the job due to disagreements between herself and chamber leadership over the future and direction of the market.

Reed said her vision was a market that sold only Michigan-made goods from local vendors, and was a community gathering place.

"I firmly believe in the mission of the market," Reed told Patch. "We needed a positive thing in Dearborn—something where people could come and see their neighbor."

Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Giering confirmed that the market would return, though the ways it will change are still being explored.

“Under the leadership of the new market manager, Millie Judd, we will be exploring new ways to make the market attractive to our vendors and their customers," Giering said. "Some of which could include cooking and recipe contests, fitness walks and food trucks.”

Reed admitted that the market did face challenges, including growing its crowds, as well as its vendor base. She said she believes eliminating paid parking, as well as setting it apart from competing nearby markets are key to its continued success.

Still, Reed added, "I think the market has had some great vendors."

"I hope it does well in 2013," she added.

Kamal Makki October 29, 2012 at 11:44 AM
The hours/day the market is open does not make it easy for working people to attend. Changing the day from friday to saturday would be better.
Donna Hay October 29, 2012 at 12:08 PM
So sorry to hear that Joan is leaving she has done a FANTASTIC job starting and continuing to run the market since the day it opened. I certainly hope that they don't venture away from Michigan made products only. Wonder if her leaving had anything to do with some of the vendors that are also leaving the market? You can be very proud of yourself Joan and good luck! I'll sure miss seeing your smiling face early on Friday mornings!! Why in the world would the chamber want to change things, Dearborn keeps looking for ways to 'change' things and look what is happening to this city. What a shame.
cheryl October 29, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Yes, it's pretty much unworkable for me. By the time I get there at lunchtime, most of the vendors were packing up or the limited stock meant a lot of the items were gone.
Marianne Hasper October 29, 2012 at 03:56 PM
I agree with kamal and cheryl - why not make it a friday evening or saturday afternoon market so that those of us who work outside of Dearborn could come after work and spend a little money in the neighborhood.
Veronica G. October 29, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I totally agree. I've always wanted to attend, but have never been able to due to my M-F work schedule. I'm curious as to why it was scheduled on a Friday to begin with. I would think that having the market on a weekend would open it up to so many more potential attendees.
Millie October 29, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Many of the vendors work a different city market each day. If we moved it to Saturday we.may not be able to get new vendors. Changes to the hours are for sure in our goals. We wish everybody could attend but we know that is just not possible. Joan did a great job founding this market. We are blessed to have such a foundation to build on.
J. Allen October 29, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Not only should the day be changed to Saturday or Sunday, the location should be moved to Ford Field and possibly coordinated with other events to give it a possibility of maximum draw. If it's supposed to be a community gathering place you should look at it from the community's perspective - time, convenience, fun!
bitsy08 October 29, 2012 at 06:46 PM
I've been saying the same thing since the market opened. The current hours are not easily accessible for everyone. Something that opens a bit later and stays open into the evening as Wayne's market does would be better for everyone. Wayne is open from 2-7.
J. Allen October 29, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Millie, you're looking at this backwards - if you can create the demand (more customers visiting the market), the vendors (supply) will arrange their schedules to meet that demand - the vendors are going to go where they have the greatest opportunity to sell their goods. You have to ask yourself what will create that demand and one of the answers is convenience. When do most people have free time - the weekends! Dearborn needs to use there assets to their advantage, utilize capabilities and settings that other communiies don't have in order to set our Farmers Market apart form the rest.
Tracey Boudreau October 29, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I also think the market should be moved. It is soooo unfair to the merchants who pay money to have that parking lot available to their customers! I avoid the market just for that reason!
anonymous October 29, 2012 at 11:29 PM
New blood and a new attitude will be a welcome change for the market. Night market drew a different crowd then day for sure. Everybody has to remember that the venders make the event. No venders = No market so before all of the commenters change day, time, and location let us remember that this all started in a dirt lot between two parking decks...And has managed to sustane itself for 5 years!
Sher Watkins October 29, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Joan has done an incredible job getting this Farmers Market on it's feet and thriving. Hopefully, new directions for growth will not stray too far from the basic ideas of a real farmers market.
Genevieve March 20, 2013 at 02:30 AM
I agree. I havent attended due to it being on a work day, during work hours. I live in Dearborn, but go to Detroit's Eastern Market due to it being on a Saturday. Make this a Saturday afternoon family event, and it will attract more people:)

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