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Conversations with the Inspiring Michele Hubley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michele Hubley.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I became directly involved with the Cohasset Farmers Market about five years ago in an effort to help my mother who had revived it in 1996. In reality, though, the concept of the market can be traced to almost 100 years ago with my grandfather Nick, who immigrated to Cohasset from Italy in the early 1900’s. As one of the first business owners in the small village of Cohasset, he and his brother opened a produce and confectioners shop on South Main Street, in the center of our little town. As he acclimated and became successful, he was generous andencouraging of other aspiring entrepreneurs, offering support in an effort to help attract businesses to the downtown area. While there was not a formal Farmers market at that time, the green on nearby Cohasset Common was used as a social and economic meeting place for the community, business, and local agriculture.

Fast forwarding to 1996, my mother Anna Abbruzzese, Nick’s daughter, joined by several like-minded civic souls, revived the community concept of the Common with the first Cohasset Farmers Market. When I became involved with the Market about five years ago, Anna and her team were challenged with maintaining pace with the new trends in farmers’ markets. As the demands of managing a market were changing, Anna had appealed to my husband Michael and I for assistance with logistics and organization. Today, Mike handles the game-day logistics of Market Day, and I manage everything in between guided by Anna and Elinore Barrett, part of the original advisory board of the Market. Our mission: To provide a place of community where people of all ages connect with food, creativity and each other for a mutually beneficial experience. As a Cohasset resident working full-time in Boston, I spend little actual time where I live. Being involved in the market, through my interaction with vendors, the town, and the customers on the Common are my connection to my community.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Managing a market is not an easy road, as – I’d never done it! Kidding aside, the dynamics of running a safe and enjoyable market for customers, and a productive, successful market for the vendors are many but simple in nature. Farmers markets today are about offeringgenuine experiences. An advantage for anyone, especially women perhaps (as perhaps this trait is more ingrained) would be to invoke and convey as much empathy and authenticity as possible in every source of communication about the market, with the vendors and with the customers. In the case of the Market, folks can buy good organic produce at a store these days. Why would they come to a farmers market? It’s about the feeling and the experience of being there. So, I start with the end in mind, thinking about what I’d like to experience at the market if I were this person, or that one, this age, or that age, and work backwards.

We’d love to hear more about your work and career so far.
For the past almost 25 years, I have been very fortunate to have made a professional career with an Investment Management firm in Boston, led by an extremely principle-oriented individual with a great charitable soul. I oversee the Regulatory Compliance and Human Resources for the firm. We take great pride in our focus on our clients, colleagues, and the community. Having such a professional and life mentor in my boss, and witnessing my mother’s altruistic drive over the years gives me the example and courage to contribute whatever energy I may have that might be useful to someone, without reservation.

Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
My biggest takeaway at this point after many years of trial and error and bumps and bruises is this: something is better than perfect. Don’t beat yourself up with failures. They are opportunities for great learning and insight. The way you do anything is the way you do everything – so, do it with heart, whatever that is and be present. Offering to do whatever needs getting done and being reliable (regardless of the seeming importance of the task) will always open doors of opportunity; and, in the meantime, you own that experience.

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Image Credit:
Kirsten Snow

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