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Meet Deb Sayre of Natick Farmers Market in Natick

Today we’d like to introduce you to Deb Sayre.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The market was started 20 years ago by the local business association and I have been managing it since we started with 6 vendors. Over the years new companies joined the market to become known and learn how to develop the business. It has been wonderful to watch as many of them outgrew us. Some of them learned they loved to cook but did not want too big. Our vendors share their information, support and wisdom with each other which has added to the friendly atmosphere that identifies us beyond the size of and selections at the market We currently have 50 food vendors involved, most on a weekly or alternating week basis. There are over 150 crafters who rotate, 6-9 different ones each week. The policy is “grow it or make it.” There is music every week and the occasional performance by local dance studios and community music programs. Because the community is so important, local non-profits are encouraged to have a presence when possible. Youth groups also do fundraising at the market.

The market has helped the reputation of the town as friendly, healthy and community oriented. We are lucky to have a wonderful town green which hosts the market from May thru October…(we are inside across the street from November to May). The town has many other family-oriented events on the Natick Common, creating a “heart of the community” feel.

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?
I am pleased to say that it has been relatively smooth growing the market once some people stopped trying to move it to the pavement to save the grass. I grew the size as the customer base could support the increase, always aiming to add variety and trying to avoid duplication. The original farms are still with us as the foundation of our market, around which this event has grown, deliciously. The town Board of Health is a pleasure to work with, providing all the guidance and support to the growth while keeping the public safety first at all times.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Natick Farmers Market – what should we know?
The Natick Farmers Market is a place where you can get quality food, meet new friends, and learn about the community. Our volunteers have often retired teachers, many of whom are involved with other community projects they are delighted to talk about with any interested party. Our main volunteer is also a very accurate weatherman and people call Rich all the time to plan their weekends…He is also a wealth of information about the history of the town and people are always engaged in conversation with him. Every week we meet new young families who just moved to town and find the market where we orient them to other events and services as well as help them feel connected to the community. Building this sense of community while providing good food and supporting the artists’ community, is what makes this market so successful.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
The warmth of successfully serving our community is a feeling shared by vendors and customers…making the market more than just a shopping experience. Our vendors enjoy the market, the support, and connections, as well as the business they do.

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