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Independence Riverview Market manager Sue Barker, far right, talks with a market-goer on Aug. 25 along the connade at Riverview Park and Amphitheater.
September 11, 2012
INDEPENDENCE -- Downtown Independence had a crowd of produce hunters on a recent Saturday morning, like it normally does.
Unlike normal, that activity was happening in two spots a block apart.
At Riverview Park and Amphitheater, passers-by strolled through an aisle of booths along the colonnade, bought fruit and vegetables, checked out artwork and enjoyed a live rendition of The Carpenter's "Close to You."
This was just the Independence Riverview Market's third week of operations, but people have already grown accustomed to it, said Andy Scott, owner of Andy's Cafe. After learning about it, he and the owners of Ragin' River decided to open a breakfast and lunch booth there together.
Independence Farmers Market manager Martha Walton, right, chats with customers on Aug. 25.
"It's got a great feel to it," Scott said. "You don't just want to zing in and out, it makes you want to hang out."
It's been almost a month since some former vendors of the Independence Farmers Market moved to the amphitheater to expand. According to its vendors and counterparts at the original market off Monmouth Street, both are doing as well, if not better than before.
Jeannie Berg, an IRM coordinator, said the location has been a success. There were 15 vendors on this day, several of them new to this market -- or farmers markets period. Berg said there's room for 33 booths and that she's already been approached by potential sellers for next year.
A natural fear by some was that the existence of a second market would hurt the old one. While the IFM was more staid on this day, there were still customers browsing through its eight booths. Martha Walton, IFM manager, said new vendors have actually signed on.
"I haven't seen any difference," said Walton, noting IFM will be in its same place next year. "I know my sales have been up."
Marti Sohn of West Salem, who sells produce and crafts at the IFM, said she understood that some vendors wanted more of a festival-type atmosphere. Others, like herself, simply want to sell products, she said.
Sohn said there'splenty of support for the original -- particularly from elderly customers because of available parking.
Sue Barker, IRM manager, said visitors have been walking back and forth between both markets. If her vendors don't carry what customers are looking for, she directs them down the street.
"They're comparing prices and shopping around," Barker said. "And they're going to downtown businesses, too, while they're at it."
Iris Bursell of Monmouth stopped by IFM for corn and peaches. She planned to visit the amphitheater, too.
"I think it's silly, though," the senior said. "Now we actually have to drive over to the other one ... I mean, don't they get along?"
Sue Buckles of Monmouth said she's visited the IFM almost every week for 18 years, but now goes to both.
"I want to support the community," Buckles said. "But I think the one at the amphitheater is more lively, there's different things to do there ... it's what I would picture a farmers market to be."
"One or two blocks to walk between them, that's fine with me," said Jeff Barron of Portland, who visits Independence on weekends and is now a regular shopper. "It increases my exercise."