The Trail Market on the Esplanade grew in popularity every second Friday throughout the warm days of summer and continued to prosper during the holiday season when the market moved indoors to the Cominco gymnasium
More people buying local meant the market doubled dividends paid to the city, this year topping $3,000.
However, the surge of shoppers making downtown Trail a destination spot during last year’s 14 market days, was never about the money for Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson, a spearhead of the operation.
“The money is irrelevant,” said the Trail councillor. “People loved coming to the market to socialize and shop,” Gattafoni Robinson continued. “And many of them visited stores in the downtown core that they didn’t even know existed.”
During the market season, 158 vendors were on hand to display unique wares and artisan delicacies alongside the vegetable and fruit farmers.
Attendance numbers ranged from 100 people during the drizzly days to crowds exceeding 300 when the sun was shining.
Total revenue from all the markets (net of GST) came in just under $13,000, wrote Norm Casler, executive director of the Trail Chamber of Commerce, in a memo to council Monday night.
“Picking up on the success of the first markets in 2012 this year’s markets have seen an increase in revenue, vendors and attendees,” he said. “With people coming and going all day it is difficult to get an accurate count but we feel it was generally well attended and considered an outstanding market.”
This year, the market venue provided opportunity for community fundraising, such as the Local 480 stall that had members on hand each week flipping burgers to raise funds for charity.
Most of the money raised was donated to the Gordie Steep Sick Children’s Memorial Fund and other local organizations including the Special Olympics.
“This was our main fundraising and was a real success for us,” said Armindo deMedeiros, president of the Steelworkers Local 480.
However, one new kiosk, in particular, drew long lines of people who were interested in talking to the city, in addition to shopping.
Trail council engaged the public in face-to-face conversation during the outdoor market and displayed downtown revitalization plans at their table which was set up in the heart of Jubilee Park.
“This was really well received,” said Gattafoni Robinson. “People appreciated the fact that there was at least one councillor present to listen to their concerns.”
To accommodate the growing number of vendors and market visitors, the venue expanded onto Helena Street in July, with future markets planned to absorb further areas in downtown Trail.
“We are looking forward to being bigger and better this year,” confirmed Gattafoni Robinson. “I’m focused on this so if we have to open up another five streets, we’ll do it. For me, anything goes.”
Besides great food and an expansive array of artisan goods, the key to the market’s success and the hot topic during the summer months was the location, which Gattafoni Robinson calls the “Esplanade with the million dollar view.”
“There’s no two ways about it,” she said. “We had more comments about the riverwalk and it’s beauty, with flowers and ambiance,” she explained. “That’s what the people and vendors would comment about. The river and the beauty of it, that is the key.”