Tuesday, March 22, 2005


I had to share this blog brief from Publishers Weekly.

The owner of the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall Township, Pa., is proposing adding "a lifestyle center," in front of the main entrance to the mall, according to nj.com.

The biggest change since the mall's 1976 opening, the new section would have a "town-center atmosphere" with five freestanding buildings and include such businesses as a "large bookstore."

This sounds suspiciously like trying to recreate a downtown.

I agree. Wonder how many millions it would take to recreate New Albany's historic downtown? And isn't it stomach-churning to think of all that great lifestyle space being underutilized, allowed to deteriorate, and shuttered. Even the looters know the value of downtowns. They just want to recreate it in another place.

Talk about wasted resources.

White House Center Chosen for Meeting

Susan Kaempfer is going to be trail boss for the farmers market effort and a meeting is set for 1 p.m. at the White House Center, home of Develop New Albany, among others, and the nerve center where "The Renaissance Begins."

If you don't know whether I have your e-mail address, then contact me directly at ops@destinationsbooksellers.com and I'll forward your name to the organizing committee. There will be lots of work for volunteers, so if you just want to contribute via the blogs, that's OK, too. But if you have the time to give real effort to this, let me put Susan in touch with you.

If, out of the blue, you get an e-mail from skaempf.....then you'll know I gave Susan your address.

Things are looking good for a community-wide effort to make the farmers market attractive to vendors and entertainers and the community as a whole. I'm looking forward to some yellow tomatoes and fingerling potatos already. Potatoes for all you Dan Quayle fans.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Farmers Market News

I was pleased to have waiting for me this morning an e-mail from Roy Ballard, Floyd County's representative from the Purdue Extension Service. Here is the complete correspondence, which Roy has agreed to share.




It has been reported that you are promoting a new farmers market at Sam’s restaurant for Saturday mornings to compete with the city’s farmers market, as operated by Develop New Albany.

I know there have been problems over the years there with exclusivity, but I don’t think anyone is currently being turned away and many of us in the downtown business district are working to make the downtown market a major component of the city’s renaissance.

I would love to talk to you about this before many of my friends go ballistic over this.

Is it true? Could you provide me with your reasons for creating (or facilitating and recruiting for) a competing market if it is true?

Randy Smith



It is indeed true that apparently there is a new farmers' market forming in New Albany...

I tend to inform rather than promote any marketing opportunity for farmers...Such opportunities are few and far between...I have been very much "out of the loop" about the Downtown market for several years...learning of events and start/end dates etc... only by rumor and by way of the normal press...If I was one to promote/recruit for a market it would be difficult to do so without such information...

We need open minds with a broad focus if we are going to build interesting and attractive farmers' markets in New Albany...looking at the birthing or continuation of a market with the sole purpose of the redevelopment of any town or region is too narrow of a focus...The farmers and the consumers must have their needs met or the market will not flourish...

I do believe that there is room for multiple markets in a region like Floyd County...Multiple Grocery stores and many fast food restaurants survive with the current demographics so it is very likely that there is ample consumer potential for more than one market...in fact the limiting factor is not consumers it is the careful, selfless coordination of markets (leadership) and the number of farmers willing to market this way that will
ultimately limit the potential of this marketing venue.

If farmers wish to find an alternate site to market (and indeed this was the case with this market...I have not attnded any of the meetings) then there must be limitations in the other markets available to them that they have not found ways to overcome...They can tell you better than I what those limitations are....

I would love to discuss this with you...

I'll be in the office late tomorrow afternoon and I would be happy to drop by your store to discuss...
sure would hate for civic minded folks to go ballistic when there is so much potential to build on this great marketing system..

My follow up:

Thanks, Roy. Your explanation is incredibly helpful. ..You’re probably not aware of the enthusiasm building toward making the farmer’s market a real showcase by making it an event. It’s not necessarily an extension service-related effort in that many of the promoters want to add concurrent events and bring more vendors of prepared goods and crafts to the general area on market days. In addition, there is growing support for using the city’s facility for evening entertainment events, too.

Please, at your convenience, drop by the store and we can talk further. We’re still in an operating mode that pretty much ties me to the store from 9 to 9 all week, but we’re not so busy that I can’t often take plenty of time to talk.

One of the ways we keep in touch among our little group, including our neighborhood association, is via my Web log at
http://volunteerhoosier.blogspot.com. Without your permission, I wouldn’t want to rebroadcast your e-mail, but I don’t see anything controversial about anything you’ve said. It is informative and clear about the issue. Only a few of us have any real connection with the farm community, but as boosters of downtown we all try to support the existing market with our own purchases and want to see it succeed on its own and as an element of a revitalized downtown.

That effort will proceed, but our discovery of this competing market hit just when the engine was cranking on our efforts to make the downtown market soar.

Questions are being asked and I suspect you may get more than one call this week.

Could I have your permission to re-post your response on my Web log? Either as is, or after you are able to edit it for broader distribution?

Also, Susan Kaempfer, associated with AAA Plumbing Doctor across the street from the downtown market is calling for a meeting of interested parties for 1 p.m. on Friday. I think it would be extremely helpful if you or an associate could attend to represent your point of view.

Thank you again for your helpful response. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Randy Smith



So glad to hear that there is broad based enthusiasm and energy building in this more diversified marketing effort...such markets can be beneficial not only from a financial perspective but they can also help build a sense of "community" (we all define that a bit differently) that we desperately need.

I don't think I said anything in my e-mail that I wouldn't tell others...you may share it with others as you wish...
I am very supportive of any effort to build our entire community...not necessarily just the downtown area...though it too is important...my area of focus is one of Agriculture and Natural resources so that is where my energies are but community development is always a priority that I am happy to support....

All the best to your group as they move forward...I do hope they will keep and open mind about the broad potential that is out there for direct farm to consumer marketing in our region...we should be leading...not following...Louisville in this regard and our farmers should not have to travel to Bardstown road to sell their
good Indiana produce...

Please let me know how I can help...

Roy Ballard
Purdue Extension Educator
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Floyd County Office
Room B-03 City County Building
311 West First Street
New Albany, Indiana 47150

812-948-5470 TX
812-945-1168 FAX

The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts.
Aldo Leopold

I understand that Susan is well along with her plans for a Friday meeting and I hope she'll feel free to use this Web log to continue to spread the word.