My quest to start a whoopie pie stand of my very own in a Chicago farmers market.
I apologize for the lack of new content lately, but I’m working on something else that is getting all of my food-related attention right now. I’ll hopefully be able to reveal what that is and should be back to my regular reviews and macsperiments some time next week. In the mean time, I figured I could start profiling potential farmers markets for next spring.
I’m starting with the Chicago Nettelhorst French Market because I think it’s the most likely place for me to set up shop.
Located in the parking lot/next to the playground at the Nettlehorst School on Broadway and Melrose, the market is only a 10-minute walk from my apartment. Since I don’t have a car, a market within walking distance is preferable.
Probably the second most important determining factor after location is price (should this really be the most important?). It’s $50 a week for a part-time vendor (“A vendor that commits to individual dates on a week-to-week basis or that will be absent more than 2 weeks during the season”). I’m pretty sure I’ll want to get away for the weekend at least twice next summer, so I’ll be a part-time vendor.
Let’s say I’ll set up shop two Saturdays a month. That way I may be able to only use the community kitchen once a month or possibly even less = less kitchen rental costs. During the market’s season (this year it was April 21-Nov 5), this would be around 14 total Saturdays for a total of $700 a season in booth rental fees. The application notes that you can set up a payment plan if you choose at least 14 dates.
Size is both a possible downside and upside. Due to its location, there are very defined boundaries to this market: the school itself on the north, Broadway on the east, Melrose on the south, and the playground on the west. All of those are things that are exceedingly immobile. I like that I would easily be able to get to know the other vendors (there’s one vendor in particular from this past season who I really liked: Brady Braden from BTrue Bakery), and repeat market-dwellers would certainly be able to remember my stand as it would be only one of a handful, but there would definitely be fewer possible customers here than in a larger market. However, fewer customers could also mean I get to know more repeat customers better. Quality over quantity?
It’s also French (there’s a fantastic cheese stand where I can get my Midnight Moon fix), and I’m planning on making a French pastry (albeit with an American spin), so this seems like a plus.
So, in summary…
Chicago Nettelhorst French Market
Dates: Saturdays April 23 through November 5 (2011) from 8am-2pm
1) Proof of insurance with the market listed as additional insured
2) a City of Chicago Temporary Food Vendor License application
3) a current health inspection (less than 6 months old)
4) must staff the booth with at least 1 individual that holds a City of Chicago Summer Sanitation certificate and must apply 30 days prior to participation
5) must provide my own table, chairs, and display, but they provide the tent/canopy
Pros: location; size; only on Saturdays; price and option to set up a payment plan; no application fee as far as I can tell; flexibility to choose which dates I want to sell; and it’s French!
Cons: size; it seems like there are a lot of required certificates: Sanitation (this is something I’ll have to have everywhere), proof of insurance (also something I’ll have to have everywhere), Chicago Temporary Food Vendor License, health inspection (will hopefully just be able to provide a copy from whichever kitchen I use), and a Chicago Summer Sanitation certificate
I’ll have to get started on those certificates almost immediately in the new year. Bureaucracy: exactly the way I want to start my 2012!