As many of you know I live in Orleans and I'm not a big fan. However, as there is no way for me to not be living here for the next few years, I need to ovary up and make the best of it. This is the first in a series of posts where I will explore what I actually DO like about Orleans as well as sharing some ideas on what could make it better.
This past Friday I attended the opening day of the Orleans Farmer's Market. For those of you who are unaware, it runs every Friday from 11am-6pm at the Centrum Plaza. There were about 8 vendors with definite space for more. However, given the fact that this is not central to the city, I'm not sure more vendors will come unless Orleanians really start taking advantage of this. I bought from 4 vendors:
Art-is-in - Anyone who doesn't know how fabulous their products are is really missing out. I got two small loaves of bread to have with our supper and ate too much of it at lunch. MY BAD. Best part - no line up like at Lansdowne on Sundays!
Garland Sugar Shack - All I need to say is MAPLE COTTON CANDY.
And two produce growers of whom I did not take note.
I plan on returning every Friday in the hopes that more vendors will arrive as the growing season marches on. The area that hosts the farmer's market is sort of a courtyard surrounded by a new restaurant in the style of East Side Mario's (I assume since that's what used to be there and it's now called Luigi's so it's basically the Super Mario Bros. corner), a pub, The Shenkman Art's centre, the Y and a couple of little plaza like shops that are very specific and wouldn't really generate much traffic (pet food store, sporting goods. I hadn't truly explored the area before so I was very hopeful when I brought Molly out on a beautiful day to poke about. We first visited all the stalls and all the vendors were friendly and eager to talk. After we had done that, I kind of stood there looking around the plaza for something else to do.
It's very unwelcoming.
It would have been great had there been a little cafe or a general stuff shop but my options were very limited. My ideal would have been to grab a latte after the farmers market and sit on a nearby bench sipping it in the sunshine but my closest coffee place was in an actual shopping mall that I would pretty much need to drive to. This entire area has a lot of potential. The arts centre, the Orleans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre, the Y are all destinations that people go to for specific reasons but there is nothing there that offers people a reason to STAY and spend some time, and let's face it, money. There is no appeal for me to go to a sit down restaurant in the middle of the day but a cafe, an ice cream shop, a boutique etc all have the kind of appeal that draws people into a place to spend even a small amount and gets them walking around the area and possibly spending on a bigger ticket item.
It's a destination. It's the start of integrating business into the community. It's what's missing from this town.