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Farmer ’s market benefits small businesses

STAR CITY — The Star City farmer’s market, a weekly event implemented to attract residents to Edith Barill Riverfront Park and Star City’s newly installed pavilion, has brought exposure to many local businesses and vendors.

Vendors at the farmer’s market consist of booths set up by well-known local businesses, including Dave’s T&L Hotdogs, as well as entrepreneurs who began their business less than a month ago.

An example of the latter are sisters Debbie Falton and Kim Calandrelli, who experienced their second farmer’s market on Sept. 25. Falton and Calandrelli’s handmade craft business wasn’t started until earlier this month.

“We said when we both retired, we’d make and sell crafts,” said Falton. “[Calandrelli] finally retired.” 

The sisters meet once a week to prepare crafts together, but were initially at a loss as to where to sell them, as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a cancellation of local craft shows. According to the Falton and Calandrelli, they decided to bring their crafts to the farmer’s market after meeting other participants in the event.

“It’s been very nice,” said Falton. While Falton and Calandrelli couldn’t comment much on the amount of exposure they’ve received as they are still new to the market, Falton said that she is content with the experience. “[We like] just getting to know the other vendors,” Falton said. “… and they get to know us.” 

Jennifer Renn, who sells handmade face masks at a booth called “Jennifer’s Basement,” began her venture when masks were added to COVID-19 safety requirements.

“I thought, ‘I think I can make [the masks],’ ” said Renn. Renn pointed out that handmade masks are more comfortable and personalized than traditional medical masks, and that handmade masks can be washed and reused to cut back on waste.

Renn began making the masks at home for friends and family members. “My daughter said, ‘You should sell these,’ ” said Renn. Renn’s daughter created a website where Renn could promote and sell her homemade masks, and upon hearing of the farmer’s market, Renn “thought it would be fun to participate.” 

“If you have to wear a mask, why not make it fun?” she said.

Renn stated that many visitors at the farmer’s market take an interest in her products, but Renn isn’t just in it for the monetary gain. “I love helping people,” she said.

Tori O’Connor, who is only 12 years old, was attending her third farmer’s market on Friday.

O’Connor sells her artwork there. “I like painting,” O’Connor said. “It was a hobby, and I thought — ‘Hey, I could make money off this.’ ” 

Tori’s mother, Melissa O’Connor, said of the market, “It’s awesome. There’s always someone new.” 

Friday was the first market at which O’Connor ended up leaving with less product than she initially brought. O’Connor arrived at the market with 11 paintings in tow and closed down for the evening with three remaining. O’Connor also received two commissions that day.

“It’s nice to see people out of their homes,” said Melissa O’Connor. “We’re thrilled that [the farmer’s market] is here.” 

The Star City farmer’s market is held from 3-8 p.m. Fridays at Edith Barill Riverfront Park in Star City.

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