Downtown merchant asks to move Wednesday street market
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jul 10, 2014 | 6039 views | 11 11 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Visitors browse the variety of produce booths during the first day of the Wednesday farmers market in downtown Tracy.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Visitors browse the variety of produce booths during the first day of the Wednesday farmers market in downtown Tracy. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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A handful of downtown business owners have expressed their displeasure with parking congestion caused by the Wednesday farmers market and want the program discontinued, but officials say it’s too late in the season.

Ken Cefalo, the owner of Main Street Music at 53 W. 10th St., said he took his concerns to his fellow downtown business owners by circulating a petition Wednesday to move the market away from 10th Street.

He said nine or 10 business owners signed the petition. He presented their positions to the Tracy City Center Association directors at their monthly meeting on Thursday morning.

“We love events, we love having the car shows and the wine strolls and the festivals, and we love having the Saturday farmers market, but this particular one some of us don’t see as beneficial to the market or for us,” Cefalo said.

“On Saturday, nonretail parking is available, but on Wednesday, it’s a little bigger of an issue,” he said. “There’s not as much parking and it causes a hardship.”

The petition requested the market be moved off of 10th Street, between B Street and Central Avenue, to somewhere on Ninth Street, Cefalo said.

According to TCCA President Dino Margaros, it’s too late in the summer to cancel it.

“At this point, we’re halfway into the season and there’s a month and a half (left) on the contract,” Margaros said. “The feasible solution is to see how it plays out — ride out the rest of the season.”

Margaros said TCCA officials heard about the petition as soon as it started and asked Cefalo to come in and speak to the directors on Thursday.

“We’re trying it out — it’s new as of this year and we’re evaluating it,” he said. “Everyone agrees Saturday is successful event, just Wednesday is question mark right now.”

In previous years, the Wednesday farmers market has called home different locations in the city, including in front of Tracy City Hall. As to whether it could be moved somewhere else, Margaros said the TCCA doesn’t have jurisdiction on 10th Street on the east side of Central Avenue or anywhere on Ninth Street, so those are not options.

“We’re a commuter city, so without trying, we don’t know (if it works),” Margaros said. “(It’s) up for discussion if want to do it again next year.”

He said the TCCA would revisit the market’s success at the end of the summer run Aug. 27.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at drizzo@tracypress.com or 830-4225.

 
Comments
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I<3Tracy
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July 16, 2014
I understand both sides of the coin, but the only thing I'm going to say is, please do not get rid of Wednesday's farmers market. It is such convenience for our family. We don't attend Saturday's one due to religious practice; We had tried The West valley mall on Sundays, but they do not offer the veggies, and fruit that my we all love. Besides, we enjoy taking a stroll on our downtown on these summery days.

If you want to relocate it, why not by Transit center, there's parking space available there, and there's the ice cream shop that my family loves to go to (win-win) :)

newtotracy
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July 11, 2014
I can see both sides on this one...I think our parking downtown is just pretty lousy overall. Everytime I drive down (I usually walk), it seems like I have to circle the block to get even close to where I need to go. Yet everyone complains that downtown is dead...which makes me wonder if the folks parking up front are the employees or what?

I love the farmer's market...it DOES bring people downtown...if they aren't visiting shops, maybe the shops need to reach out to the strolling folks? I went a couple of Wednesdays ago and the Commons was packed, people were looking in windows...it was a hit.

I get the parking complaints, but it's not for THAT long (and only a few hours for set up are in the "business hours" timeframe...the market is after hours)...there's an entire lot across from the USPS, there's parking all along 10th in the other direction...if people are just unwilling to walk a block or two, that's neither the business nor the farmer's market's problem now is it?

don't do away with the Wednesday market...it brings life to downtown and brings healthy food to our bods!
victor_jm
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July 11, 2014
How many people attend the Wednesday Farmer's Market? A couple hundred?
spookyjimjams
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July 11, 2014
The Farmer's Market is one of the ONLY reasons why I go to downtown. Maybe the businesses that are worried about decreased foot traffic should set a booth and get some extra advertising for their shops.
CadillacMomma
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July 11, 2014
I attend both the Saturday and Wednesday markets and can attest to parking being super sparse on Saturdays, but Wednesdays? Really? They have 1/3 of the vendors on Wednesdays.......which equates to 1/3 of the market goers in my opinion. Midweek doesn't even cause "parking congestion", as there isn't enough people visiting the market anyways, lol. Ken should be thanking the midweek market for bringing foot traffic near his shop. That isn't to say the music store isn't successful on it's own merit, I'm just saying it can't be hurting his or the surrounding businesses. I'm curious if the other businesses signing this petition aren't the same ones who overprice their goods and services and wonder why business is slow. Oh, that's right, it's the Wednesday market parking congestion.

Instead of looking this gift horse in the mouth, try petting it. Durr.
MrSycamore
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July 10, 2014
Not very bright business owners to force the farmers market to move. Don't bite the hand that feeds you! Who knows they might move the Saturday Farmers Market to a better location where other businesses can prosper.
m,mclellan
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July 10, 2014
I have been talking to the folks on 10th Street as I was very disappointed that I could not find parking to shop at two stores on Wednesday. Talk about counterproductive! We are trying to get places to eat downtown and then take away their parking. It is wonderful to make choices when you do not have to live with the result. Why not put the market on 9th - which makes more sense, or on Central which would bring those merchants out with their own complaints. -Mike McLellan
seattleguy
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July 10, 2014
What a bunch of ungrateful businesses. The visitors are the ones that have paid for all of the improvements for the downtown. Also how many times have we heard them crying about not getting business and that it's a ghost town. You can't tell me they don't get any business out of the farmers market. Also maybe if some of the businesses would lower prices may be more people would visit. I'm sorry I'm not going to buy a $25 candle
scottpro
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July 10, 2014
I'm not quite sure you know what you're talking about. Having worked at a store downtown for a few years, I can tell you that this event, mid week in the evening, does in fact reduce foot traffic to the businesses. It might seem counter intuitive, but from my perspective it was fact. As a matter of fact, the Bean Festival brings a lot more people in during that weekend, but sales were usually down then as well. How do you expect downtown to NOT be a ghost town if we aren't doing things to support the very businesses that exist there? I don't think Ken is being unreasonable at all, I think he's being a smart businessman. He's a business owner who's had a successful business downtown for almost two decades, so I would tend to listen to that man. Just my $.02
m,mclellan
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July 10, 2014
seattleguy: How many of the downtown business owners do you actually know and have asked why they may not like this? How many and who?
seattleguy
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July 10, 2014
I love attending these farmers markets. I do have a voice as someone who lives in tracy as well! When I attend these events I'm grabbing my money from the bank often make my deposits while I'm there, get coffee from one of the coffee shops and often pop into a couple other stores to see what they have. This is what happens in downtowns all over the country during the summer. For a couple months out of the year I don't see the parking issue once a week during the summer is a big deal. As many of us say often, if you want more business lower prices and have products that we as shoppers want. I often feel like I'm in downtown walnut creek or Beverly Hills with the prices some businesses cjarge


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