What is it like to be a Downtown Windsor Farmers' Market Vendor?
Updated: Nov 15
Short answer: Amazing & crazy!
Long answer: It's a very early, very long day, exhausting & exhilarating...
We started at the DWFM back in September 2020 (has it been more than a year!?!) Back then, I was still working full time as a Pharmaceutical Scientist at Catalent, so I signed up for alternating weekends, to give me time to bake enough product to bring. It meant lots of super late nights baking, labeling, packing and organizing. Waking up before the crack of dawn the morning of, to pack everything into coolers and into our truck, before driving downtown to setup.
As James & I pulled up to Pelissier the first time, we found out which spot number we were assigned for the day, and we pulled in, unloaded our vehicle, parked our vehicle in the parking garage, then started setting up to be ready for 8am opening. The 5 hours would go by in a blur - on your feet, interacting, and meeting people. At 1pm its all over and you do the opposite, packing it all up, and head out so they open the street back up.
We had absolutely no idea what to expect our first day, but we were welcomed immediately. Steve and the DWFM team were so helpful, and great at coaching us before our first day on what to do/pack, and during our first few setups. They stopped by throughout the day to check on us, and make sure everything was going smoothly.
The other vendors too (especially Nicole from Chlorophyll Vegan Eats and Christine from Christine's Bake Shop), were so welcoming, and helpful and full of recommendations and ideas to make things easier - tips & tricks they'd learned over their time as vendors. It was (and still is!) such an amazing experience. You get to meet & build relationships with so many great people from the wonderful customers, to other market vendors & the superstar DWFM team! Shout out to Steve & Rob and the rest of their team that make it happen each and every week!!
Last year Steve and the team decided to extend the market into November & December for the first ever Holiday Market. As it got colder, they moved all the vendors into the parking garage to get us out of the elements. It was fun to see the festive holiday vendors too.
It was such a great experience in 2020 and we'd formed so many great relationships that even though we now have a storefront, we signed back up for the entire 2021 season. We ended up having to take a brief pause in the summer because it was too hot for our baked goods but now with the cooler fall weather, we're back! Though it's a bit easier now since we have the storefront (products are already packaged and organized), it also means a much longer day since we head back and open the bakery after we leave the market. But still 100% worth it!
There are so many new vendors this year (and I hear a big waitlist too) - it's so great to see all the new ideas & businesses. And to see how many vendors from last year now have storefronts too (Christine's Bake Shop, Chance Coffee, Auntie Aldoo's and the list goes on). It's the perfect place to try out your new venture, side-hustle, passion-project or whatever you want to call it, before you take the scary leap into entrepreneurship.
This last weekend marked the first weekend of the DWFM Holiday Market. That means we're winding up for holidays again, but the market is drawing to an end, with only 5 weekends left! So if you haven't made it out yet, now is your chance! Bundle up (it's pretty chilly down there in the mornings now), and come see what it's all about. Take a relaxing walk down Pelissier Street, Saturday morning between 9am-1pm, and check out all the amazing local vendors our city has to offer.
Find the DWFM at:
Pelissier Street & Maiden Lane West, Windsor, ON N9A 4K9
Saturday 9am-1pm, until Dec 11, 2021.