Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Sammy Linebaugh reportingBrad Baird, Downtown Alliance: "We've reached the limits of what we can possibly handle in Pioneer Park, and this has really become a community event...”
One of the sure signs of summer in downtown Salt Lake City: The opening of the Farmer's Market at Pioneer Park.
In the 13 years since its opening, the market has turned itself into a test market for would be entrepreneurs.
Rewind to 1992...Bill Clinton was about to become President and here in Utah, the first Farmer's Market got its start at Pioneer Park.
In the beginning here there were six small booths, and about 50 people showed up to shop. This morning, thousands turned out for a typical farmer's market morning.
Get ready to boogie! The Farmer's Market is back, with space to wiggle.
Sample and shop.
Suzie Highley: "I saw this last year and I didn't get one so I thought I gotta come back and get it this year, and she still has it!"
From temporary tatoos...a favorite with kids...to eclectic art.. pet specialties...
The market has become a marketplace of ideas.
Brad Baird, Downtown Alliance: "One of the purposes of the farmers market and the art and craft market is to help grass roots business folks get their businesses off the ground."
Take the story of Jorge Ffierro for example. Eight years ago he got started here at the farmer's market with a card table and bags of pinto beans.
Jose Fierro, Rico Mexican Market: "I only sold two bags of beans that first day and I went home and I was a little disappointed, but then the next week I came back with some recipe cards and I started giving recipe cards to people.."
From there, the young entrepreneur from Chijuajua, Mexico found a way to expand his line of products.
Jorge Fierro: "We wrote a business proposal and submitted it to the Utah Microenterprise loan fund and we got a ten thousand dollar loan in December 1997."
And now?...he's not only the proud owner of his own kitchen and catering business...RICO Mexican Market his specialty products are in grocery stores across the state.
Jorge Fierro: "I mean, talk about the American dream at its best."
Last year, the business that started quite literally with a few beans...grossed one million dollars.
The market runs through October each Saturday from 8am to 1pm...from a vending standpoint, the market is full--there isn't any more space, at least for now. There has been some issue with people trying to set up shop without a permit...a matter the Downtown Alliance is trying to keep an eye on.