The Wednesday night market will be held along Reeve Avenue in Haddon Township, outside the township municipal building.
By Matt Skoufalos | April 23, 2019
It’s been a tumultuous offseason for the Westmont Farmers Market.
First, the half-year, weekday event was cancelled, a byproduct of its longtime coordinator resigning and the township Business Improvement District (BID) declining to renew its support.
Then, with new private sponsorship, the 2019 season was rescued just a few weeks ahead of its scheduled opening.
Along with the reversal of fortunes came a new director.
Now toss in one more change for good measure.
The market will kick off May 1 in a new location: Reeve Avenue, a semi-residential block anchored at one end by the Haddon Township municipal building and Tine Bros. Auto., and at the other by True North Church.
Historically, the Westmont Farmers Market had operated on Stratford Avenue; when the township-owned vacant lot at Haddon and Albertson was transformed into Haddon Square, a community pop-up space, the market migrated over. Since the BID has other events planned for the Square, the market is moving again.
Haddon Township Commissioner Ryan Linhart said he expected mixed reactions to the decision, but defended it as the best of all available options.
“Obviously the BID had decided that [the market] was not as successful on the Square,” Linhart said.
“People liked Stratford [Avenue], but we’re getting some pushback on it.
“Other people thought [the Square] wasn’t as conducive to a Farmers Market atmosphere, at least as it is now,” he said.
Looking for a cross-street close to the central business district, Linhart settled on Reeve Avenue.
The site is raw, but has potential, he said.
“Stratford Avenue 10 years ago, it didn’t look like what it looks like today,” Linhart said. “[The market] could have that similar, positive effect on Reeve.”
The new location will offer public access to the Haddon Township municipal building for use of its restrooms and power for vendors. There’s onsite storage for tables, chairs, and tents. And Linhart thinks the smaller space will bring guests closer together.
“I think that people have come to the farmers market for the feeling of closeness and community that the Square lacks,” the commissioner said, adding that Haddon Square “does need improvements” in the long term.
“That’s going to be addressed,” Linhart said.
Along with the new location, the Westmont Farmers Market also appointed its inaugural advisory board. The seven-member body will convene to review vendors, provide community oversight, and supervise the market manager. It will hold public meetings on a schedule yet to be determined.
The volunteer board is drawn from various neighborhoods throughout Haddon Township, and represents a variety of perspectives, Linhart said.
Its members are:
- Gina‐Marie Campellone
- Amy Hinchcliffe
- Emily Johnson
- John Martin
- Harry Porter
- Katie Sosa
- Jim Winckowski
The market will retain many of the same features for which it’s become known, like live music and prepared foods, while adding in more farm vendors for 2019, said Market Director Keith Guenther.
“We have about five or six farms going into the season, along with a lot of other really interesting vendors,” Guenther said. The board hopes to release its final list later this week.
“We’re trying to give the community what they wanted,” Guenther said. “It’ll be good to see how we can improve it as we go.”
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