I'm looking to sell my produce at a farmers' market stall. Can you help me out?
Q: Can you give me any advice on setting up a food stall and selling produce at a farmers' market?
A: First and foremost you need to do lots of research. Go out and visit as many markets in the area you are targeting as possible and see which one suits your type of product. Talk to other stall holders and get an opinion from them on how they are trading.
In the same way as not every shop would suit to sell your products, not every market will suit you either and a lot will depend on the demographics of the area.
Do bear in mind that I read recently that the national average sales per day for a farmers market was €350 in an urban area and €250 in a rural area. Of course there are a lot of stall holders who sell much more than this but a lot depends on the product you sell.
I am always pointing out to stall holders that there are probably two or three business opportunities when you are selling at a market.
There is the obvious food for later where someone purchases something to take home to prepare or eat at that point, however there is also an opportunity to sell "food for now".
For example, take the stall holder selling some great salads which are designed for the customer to take home and enjoy with a meal, there is also a separate opportunity for those salads to be put in a roll or a sandwich for immediate consumption which is an extra revenue stream.
I remember meeting a lady in Galway several years ago who described her stall as her "shop window". By that she meant that it was her way of showcasing her product and selling one day per week, but rather smartly she had developed a door to door run of her bakery products where she delivered directly to people's houses four days later.
She had worked out that her fresh bread would not stay fresh for long enough until she was next at the market and she was able to bring in the same amount of revenue on the second occasion by going door to door. That's pretty smart in my opinion.
Finally you need to be a great marketer. Build up a text data base, have a strong digital media presence and even consider dropping some simple leaflets in some houses close by to the market you are selling at. Running a market stall is the same as running a shop.
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