Our vendor decisions are made by considering a number of criteria, some of which are mandated, some of which are recommended and others that are part of our own vision for the SWEFM and our communities.
The 80/20 Rule
When we receive an vendor's application, we first have to determine if they conform to our 80.20 rule. As an Alberta Approved Farmers' Market, we have a regulation that stipulations that 80% of all our vendors (including concessions) must sell Alberta products which "they, an immediate family member, a direct staff member or a member of a producer-owned cooperative of their staff have made, baked, or grown."
While we do have an allocation for up to 20% of our market to include resellers or out of province vendors, we do try as much as possible to favour Albertan businesses, particularly those from the Edmonton area. We are proud of the fact that over 90% of our market is comprised of locally owned, Alberta businesses! In fact, the only out of province retailers we allow are BC Fruit vendors and/or other products that are not readily available in our province.
Franchises, resellers and Direct Selling Companies
While many Farmers' Markets do allow for Resellers or other direct-sales style companies like Epicure, Stella and Dot and Tupperware, the SWEFM Board feels that the vision of our Farmers' Market is best served by focusing exclusively on local independantly-owned small businesses and farms. While we absolutely recognize the value of franchise and resale based companies, we truly want to highlight the unique products that are being manufactured here in Alberta by Albertan entrepreneurs and feel that the best way to do that is by ensuring that they are able to be the primary focus of our operation. This is also the best way to support our local economic growth, which is one of our major objectives as an organization. For this reason, you will find very limited franchises in our market, and only those that are locally based.
It is very important to us that we offer a variety of vendors to make sure that we are meeting the needs of all of our customers! Here is the breakdown that is recommended by the Department of Agriculture. We try to stay as true to this as possible: