Saturday Market History, continued

 


ORGANIZATION OF THE MARKET

Policy decisions for the Saturday Market are made by the Board of Directors with the help of the Saturday Market Standards Committee and Budget Committee. The Board consists of nine members elected by the Committee. Each member serves for 18 months and may be reelected once. Three new Board members are selected every six months so that the membership rotates, and there are always some old and some new members. It is desirable to have the Market vendors as well. as the community at large represented on the Board. There is a Board Executive Director elected by the members for one year, and a Treasurer.

The Board continues to meet during the winter when the Market is not in session. it hires the staff, which at this writing-consists of a Director, Administrative Assistant/Financial Coordinator, Promotions Coordinator, one Saturday Worker and two set-up/take-down workers, and the Farmer's Market Manager. The Board also sets the salary for the staff, a budget and fee schedule, as recommended by the Budget Committee. The Standards Committee generally decides whether questionable items may or may not be sold at the Market.

The general philosophy is that a strong staff is essential to the continued growth of the organization. A commitment towards maintaining quality staff members is indicated by the Board's offer of a two-year contract to the present Director, a position which has always been on a one-year basis. The Director is in overall charge of carrying out Market policy, particularly in relation to the community at large. Intent to offer salaries which are more in line with maintaining a strong staff has been a priority of the Board in more recent years.

Christmas of 1981 was our first week-long Market. Much advertisement went into this special event. Extreme bad weather resulted in low attendance for both vendors and customers.

April 1982, our thirteenth Season, business started out better than it had ended at Christmas. By the end of the first month of operation the Market had recovered from the debts left from its disastrous Christmas week. But before the marketeers had a chance to celebrate being in the black, on May 2 an arsonist set fire to all the Market's operational equipment, including information kiosk, stages, tarps, banners and signs. Insurance didn't cover the losses which were total, as the equipment was stored in an open area in the basement of the parking lot. Unable to store equipment there any longer, the Market bought its first vehicle, a 1948 1/2 ton flatbed truck on which it stores all its equipment, in a garage site which is locked and insured. With limited funds to advertise, due to additional expenses to recover from the fire, both vendor and customer population began to dwindle. As the year went on, overall vendor count dropped to an all time low. The parking lot looked too big for the number of participants.

The Market worked with the city and county representatives to relocate to the Park Blocks at 8th & Oak, the current location, where the space looks filled with 100-125 vendors (it took 200-250 to fill the parking lot). We currently approach capacity on most days, the site is very attractive, much more visible to traffic, and vendor count is increasing as well as vendor sales.

|Introduction| |Early History| |Growth| |Problems| |Basic Principles|


CONCLUSION

We who have worked with the Saturday Market in Eugene have found it an exciting and rewarding experience, and we would like to recommend it to other communities. The Market here is doing what we hoped--helping to revitalize the downtown area, bringing together makers and consumers of local crafts, as well as bringing locally grown fruits, vegetables, flowers and plants into town. In addition, the Market has done much more: it has fostered local pride and given a lot of people something exciting to do on Saturdays. It has justified the belief that the work of one's hands is of value, and has encouraged the craftspeople to improve their product and its presentation. The Market is a great place for the exchange of information about how to do things, where to get supplies, etc. By selling at the Market, a number of people have been able to survive without applying for public assistance. Numerous businesses have started at Saturday Market and gone on to full time operations elsewhere in Eugene and, in many cases, throughout the United States.

The Market has become a meeting place for the whole community; it is where one meets friends, takes visitors, passes petitions, in addition, of course, to buying birthday and Christmas presents, and so on, Non profit community groups are able to disseminate information with free booth space provided. Quality entertainment has become much more of a focal point for bringing local residents back time and again. Craft demonstrations are becoming more a part of weekly attractions as the market strives towards providing an ongoing educational experience as well. The Market has had some influence on statewide legislation regarding the sale of baked goods. Members of the staff and the Board have been invited to talk to classes at the University of Oregon about various aspects of the market which concerns them, and the Market has been the subject of numerous high school and college term papers and architectural projects.

In Eugene the Saturday Market is now an institution. It enters casually into conversations: "I bought it at the Saturday Market;" "See you at the Saturday Market;" and (to a newcomer) "Have you been to the Saturday Market?" We think the Market has been good for our town and feel sure it could be good for others.

|Introduction| |Early History| |Growth| |Problems| |Basic Principles| |Organization|

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