The Estevan Farmers' Market Christmas edition wrapped up their season on Dec. 19.
Marilyn Simons, who is the farmers' market incoming manager, said that it was indeed a different experience.
"We were curious how this year was going to turn out for our sales as we weren't sure if the restrictions or the lineups would deter people from spending a day with us. We were pleasantly surprised to see that we actually exceeded last year's sales," Simons said.
She added that they attribute the success of the season to the fact that more customers were supporting local.
"We have a wonderful tight-knit community that truly relies on each other and it shows."
The market had a great turn out every week. They had a steady customer flow each Saturday. They also added two Moonlight Madness Friday sales later in the season, which saw a bit fewer people attending.
"The new Friday sales (were) a bit slower. We did decide to add them later so we will see in future years if we make it a regular occurrence, how they will fair," Simons noted.
Additional Friday evening sales were a vendor's idea. Simons said that they approached her and their other on-site manager as well as some other vendors and it just fell into place.
"We all thought as our tables were already set up, why not, let's try it. They were a great addition to the market. Sales were great and we hope to let customers know to watch for more of these evening sales in the future."
Due to COVID-related restrictions, they couldn't accept any new vendors this season, but nevertheless, they had close to 20 vendors from previous years participating every time, which was also a great turnout.
This year was different in a sense of the set-up as well, as the farmers' market occupied an empty mall space between Nutter's and Sport Check as opposed to being spread around the mall halls, as they did before. This allowed to accommodate all vendors, and also to control customer flow, ensuring safe shopping.
For market participants, this experience turned out to be pretty positive and the hope is that it will continue.
"We appreciate all that Arlene (Stebeleski, the mall manager) and her staff are doing in the mall for us. It's a great cozy area that hopefully, we can utilize again not just in our spring sales but other times as well. That will be something the mall and the market will hopefully be able to discuss in the future," Simons said.
The mall staff was able to help with all safety measures and put in countless hours organizing everything for the farmers' market ahead of time, so it could go as smooth as possible.
"We are truly blessed to be able to work with them each year," Simons said.
The market also had a draw table on the second-last Friday/Saturday, where customers could enter for free to win some Farmers’ Market gift certificates. They sell these gift certificates, which are a unique gift idea as they are valid at any of the market vendors, all year.
"Gift ideas are endless with them," added Simons.
She said that despite all the changes this Christmas, the Farmers' Market was a success, thanks to all people involved.
"I would like to specifically thank some individuals and groups for making these Christmas Sales possible and successful.
"I would like to thank Arlene and the mall staff for their hours and hours of hard work getting that room ready, not only construction-wise but making it COVID compliant as well. You made our jobs way less stressful.
"I would like to thank my co-manager, Marlene (Salmers). She not only organizes lists and helps the vendors on the day of the market, but behind the scenes and in between markets she works so hard ensuring our day runs smoothly.
"I would like to thank the vendors for staying strong and understanding. They truly are a family away from home. They support one another, encourage one another and always have each other's interests at the forefront.
"Lastly, but most importantly, I would like to thank the customers. Without you, there would be no market. You stood in line and waited patiently to come see us. We know sometimes that the line-up was long and tiresome, and so we appreciate each and every one of you for enduring that for us.
"We hope to see everyone again at the indoor spring sales.”