26 July 2009

How to Vote for Findlay Market

The news about California organization Care2's farmer's market poll is making its way through the local internets. UrbanCincy has a post and I received an email about it.

I've been going to Findlay Market 1-2 times a week for 10 years, I love the place and I'm on familiar terms with many vendors. So you'd think I'd vote in this poll but I won't.

The rules say the prize goes "to the Market." Since "the Market" is run by a corporation and not a group of farmers, it goes to the corporation. And no, the corporation is not the vendors. The corporation can spend the prize on Herman Miller office chairs if it wants.

The vendors work for the corporation and the corporation runs Findlay Market like a business, i.e. the vendors are evaluated based on their ability to add value to the corporation. That's why the market is open on Sunday; vendors weren't thrilled about the idea and some opposed it entirely. But they weren't given an option. The corporation needed Sundays to expand its suburban customer base so vendors were told they could either work Sundays or give up their stall to someone who would.

That is not an isolated example; the corporation simply does not engage vendors in management decisions; it's a top-down structure.

Another key consideration is that the corporation only manages some of the vendors in the market area. Many stores aren't part of the corporation so they would be excluded from the prize entirely since they are not technically part of "the Market."

So here's the bottom line: there are two Findlay Markets. The one you see is the one you should vote for. You can do that by going there and spending your money. The other is the one you don't see, the one that looks at spreadsheets and revenue forecasts in an office.

It may make you feel urban retro-cool to click a vote for Findlay Market but don't fool yourself into thinking it does anything for the vendors.

If you like Findlay Market, don't stay at home and vote with your mouse, go there and vote with your money!


CityKin said...

Eckerlins, Angelinas and Silverglades are all in buildings owned by the Market. Mediteranean Foods, Saigon Mkt and I think Findlay Mkt Wines are not.

But I agree with your sentiment. Suppport them by shopping there. We do every week.

WestEnder said...

I'm pretty sure you're right... I mixed up a conversation I had with Silverglade's. He was talking about other vendors that weren't part of the Market and I erroneously listed him as not being part of the Market because I associated the conversation with him.

As you said, I believe the stores east of the "cafe" and west of Silverglade's are non-Market.

I should adjust the post wording.