“We still believe what’s best for Blue Ridge for both locals and for our tourist economy is to keep the downtown farmers’ market open, because it’s a place that (sic) people can stumble upon while they’re in the city,”Cook said.
“There’s nothing convenient about the state farmers’ market. It’s out of the way; you’re never just going to come upon it. It just doesn’t offer the same experience that our farmers’ market does.”Later, the state market was described as a gravel pit, offending some state market supporters. Others, though, didn’t necessarily oppose the downtown market, but felt the state market also has potential to benefit the city.
“It’s a market that’s an asset to our community,”Good Samaritan Organizer Carlie Hammond said about the state market.
“I think it’s a shame if we can’t use it productively.”Blue Ridge recently finished almost $40,000 in renovations to the state market, including restroom repairs and the installation of handicap access.
“The (downtown) market provided a way for me to make a living. I started making soap three years ago and just being at the downtown Blue Ridge Farmers’ Market, my business has grown tremendously,”she said. Another vendor, Baker Sarah Queen had a similar story, saying the state market “just doesn’t work.” Queen said if forced to move, she would have to get another job working part-time.