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Downtown Development Revitalizes Farmers Market

Downtown Wichita Falls Development sponsored the market this year after taking over the operation from the city of Wichita Falls.  Farmers say that change in command really revitalized the market and brought in more business.
    New sponsorship at the Downtown Wichita Falls Farmers Market seems to have reaped big benefits for sales of fresh local fruit and vegetables.
    Cynthia Laney, executive director for Downtown Wichita Falls Development, says, "The whole purpose of us taking over farmer's market is to make it a destination market for Saturday morning."
    In May, city councilors voted to allow the downtown development corporation to take over operation of the farmers, market, something well-received by Charlie-Thornberry growers.
    Jan Young, co-owner of Young's Orchard, says, "Tight away they started advertising for us."
    Becky Morath, co-owner of Morath Orchard, says, "We got some new vendors such as a lady that did cupcakes and cakes and all kinds of goodies.  We even had some furniture vendors, we had some soap makers, different arts and crafts."
    "I felt like they promoted us with the festivals we had down here.  I mean, we came down to the Cajun Fest and were invited to come down and have a booth, so that really started us off," Young says.
    That fresh take on promoting fresh produce brought more shoppers to the market.
    "It brought in more traffic," Morath says.  "I think the downtown development did a lot more advertising, so we got a lot more customers down here."
    "They brought lots more customers to us," Young says.  "People that have never shopped here before.  We got first time shoppers."
    Wichita Falls' first ever watermelon festival in July was a record day for the market.
    "I think we figured 36-hundred to 37-hundred slices of watermelon," Laney says.
    "It's been a good summer," Morath says.  "I think we all did well down here selling our produce."
    New ways of advertising, new vendors, and new events: all elements the downtown proud organization hopes to continue next year.
    "Bottom line what we want to do is expand the market and bring in more vendors," Laney says.
    The farmers market is open just two more days this season: Thursday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. til 1 p.m. each day.
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