By CARL SMITH
The city’s main street association recently approved a measure which will allow the organization to take control of the Starkville Community Market, a move representatives say will allow the event to grow and prosper.
Jennifer Gregory, Greater Starkville Development Partnership vice president for tourism, said the Starkville Main Street Association approved the takeover last Tuesday, placing leadership and oversight of the market in the hands of the organization. SMSA will help fund advertising and organizational needs and will also hire a special events and projects coordinator who will serve as market manager by Jan. 21, she said.
“These conversations came about because of the realization that...parties involved with the market realized an organization with dedicated staff and resources can help take it to the next level,” Gregory said. “The main street association has a built-in marketing budget; one thing (SCM) lacked is resources to market it as a quality of life event.”
By marketing the event, Gregory said she expects SCM to grow with the number of attendees, vendors and volunteers. She also said she envisions more cross-promotions with local restaurant owners, small businesses and artisans which could provide future demonstrations, entertainment and educational elements.
“We definitely hope and anticipate that the market will grow in terms of vendors and participants, and specifically ways we hope to expand the market include vendors that sell items other than your traditional produce, such as eggs and meat. We’ll definitely have to increase our resources and maybe purchase refrigeration equipment,” she said. “In addition, we really hope to enhance the whole experience of visiting the market and make it more than just a shopping trip so that parents can bring their children and learn things like sustainability, healthy habits and the farm-to-table concept.”
Increase in the variety of foods offered means more and more federal regulations SCM must abide by, she said, but that task will be given to the incoming events and projects coordinator, Gregory said.
SMSA will release applications for public membership to a market advisory committee soon, Gregory said. The organization’s bylaws will also be amended in the future to allow an SCM advisory committee member to provide representation to SMSA’s main board as well.
“We hope to convene that committee in the next few months,” Gregory said. “We want to look at the program as a whole just to get some input and make some recommendations. I think there are a lot of opportunities to make the market so much better, and we definitely want to include the community.”