Surfside Sunset Farmers Market brings out the crowd

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The Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce is offering an alternative to the typical farmers market.

Expanding on their highly successful Saturday morning farmers market at Club Square in South Cape Coral, the Chamber has now created the Surfside Sunset Farmers Market.

Located at the Shops at Surfside, the farmers market offers an alternative to those who cannot attend the organization's Saturday morning farmers market, “It is a perfect fit for someone who doesn’t want to get out of bed on Saturday morning or has to work,” says Claudia St. Onge, who oversees both farmers markets for the chamber.

In creating the new market, St. Onge says she did not want a duplication of what they were already doing, but an extension of that success, “We wanted a different vibe, something more casual. We took a different approach and created a smaller, intimate market than what we currently have on Saturday.”

In doing that, the chamber was more selective in recruiting vendors. For instance, the Saturday morning market features 19 different produce vendors. The Tuesday evening market features four. However, there is also a variety of other types of vendors at the Tuesday market, “We have kettle corn, organic food vendors, two bakeries, seafood, citrus, pasta, and even a hemp and bamboo clothing vendor,” says the chamber’s Bill Johnson.

Also, featured at the market is live music, food and drinks at the nearby Woody’s Surfside Island Rum & Grille, “Woody’s has been a great tie in with the market. People seem to enjoy going over, listening to the music, and having dinner and drinks,” says Johnson.

Since launching January 8 of this year, the market has shown significant growth. Johnson says, in its first week, the market saw roughly 800 people come out and stroll the parking lot market. This past Tuesday, February 5, between 1,500 and 2,000 people perused the market, “It has exceeded our expectations by far. The response has been amazing!”

The success has also helped the chamber in recruiting additional vendors, adding nearly 10 vendors since January, bringing the total to just over 30.

While the success of the market has been a boom to the chamber, it has also created a spike in traffic to those businesses who call the Shops at Surfside home, “The businesses here have seen a lot of increased activity. This has been a great way to get our name out there. We couldn’t be happier,” says Natalie Hoenig, property manager for the Courtelis Company, the managers of the shopping center.
Hoenig says the center hopes to expand on the success of the farmers market by adding more events to attract people to the shopping center, “Not only do we want to see the market expand, but we are also looking at adding special events that involve fun activities for the entire family.”

In the meantime, the chamber is so pleased with the success of the market that they too are looking to expand the market possibly as early as next season, “We are looking at the possibility of starting the Tuesday market in October rather than January,” explained Johnson. “Ultimately, we want to bring the vendor total up to around 75. Judging by people’s response to the vendors so far, I could see that happening next season sometime.”

The farmers market runs every Tuesday from 4:00pm to 8:00pm, now through April 30. The market is located at the Shops at Surfside, located at the corner of Veterans Parkway and Surfside Boulevard in Cape Coral. For more information on the market, contact the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce at (239) 549-6900 or click here to visit their Facebook page.