The Growers’ Market at the 17th Street Market has been canceled for the rest of the season due to low turnout.
The city of Richmond took over management of the market from the nonprofit Enrichmond on July 1.
Kathy Emerson and Karen Grisevich, who both worked at the market in the past, were named co-managers of the market.
“The Growers’ Market was an event that we inherited from Enrichmond,” Grisevich said. “But it wasn’t sustainable. There wasn’t enough foot traffic to keep it going.”
The Growers’ Market was held every Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. during the summer season. Roughly 10 or more vendors would sell their wares at the market.
But due to low turnout, Emerson and Grisevich decided to pull the plug on the event.
“It just wasn’t fair to the vendors,” Grisevich said. She also runs the popular South of the James Market on Saturdays in Forest Hill Park.
“It’s a relief in all honesty,” Grant Collier said. He sold fermented pickles and veggies at the market from his business Wild Earth Fermented. “It’s a considerable cost for a small business like mine. We wanted to keep showing up to help the market, but if you’re losing money, that’s a concern.”
Grisevich said that she and Emerson are planning the new season and will consider bringing back the Growers’ Market next year, although it might come back in a different form.
A mixed market with a blend of growers, vendors and artists called Shockoe Eclectic is in the works with the first event scheduled for Sept. 13.
The first Shockoe Eclectic will feature live music, an interactive art experiences from the Studio Two Three To-Go Print Truck, and a small market with around 10 vendors selling everything from jewelry to hand bags. Organizers said Shockoe Eclectic will be a different experience every time.
A happy hour where people can purchase a drink to-go and take it into the market plaza to enjoy live music is also planned to start in mid-September on select Friday nights, although details haven’t been finalized yet.
Emerson and Grisevich, in partnership with Shockoe Bottom restaurants, are also planning the first Shockoe Taco festival for Sept. 21, featuring tacos from Shockoe Bottom restaurants, live music, beer and vendors.
Yoga on Wednesdays and the Richmond Night Market held the second Saturday of the month will continue at the 17th Street Market.
A European holiday market is also planned to coincide with the Main Street Station Grand Illumination on Dec. 6, with entertainment and local vendors.
The three legacy vendors, Timothy Christian and “The Sisters,” Rosa Fleming and Evelyn Luceal Allen, will continue to sell local produce at the market most days, although the permanent structures the legacy vendors were promised still haven’t materialized.
“Business has been pretty slow this summer,” Christian said. “We didn’t have any festivals or events to bring people down here. Hopefully, things will be better in the fall.”