Spurred by the “eat local” movement, consumers are flocking to stands connected to family farms (and those farms account for fully 96% of the 2.2 million farms in the U. And they’re also flocking to farmers' markets — in fact, this is National Farmers Market Week. Individual stands are also thinking big, with many morphing into year-round, full-scale enterprises—like supermarkets in touristy packaging.
Such “stands,” which can have annual sales in the millions of dollars, offer everything from souvenirs to prepared meals.
They argue that the bigger-is-better thinking can go against the connect-with-the-soil spirit of the classic stand.
“It’s very off-putting to see a farm stand without very much ‘farm’ to it,” says Sara Trunzo, a project manager with the Maine Farmland Trust.
An even better location with higher traffic will not generate more profits if there is a limited amount of product to sell.
Finding the right level of exposure to attract the right number of prospects (no more, no less) is an art, but whatever cash you save in overhead, you can pocket in profits.
At the Avila Valley Barn in San Luis Obispo, Calif., for example, raspberries and blackberries share space with packaged gourmet goods, bakeware, barbecue accessories, cookbooks and even educational toys.
For some eat-local purists and old-school farmers, there’s nothing simple about this.
Paying more for space that can generate higher traffic makes sense only if merchants have excess inventory (or, unlimited inventory in the case of digital content), and sellers have the operational capacity to support higher volume of sales (e.g., retail staff or server capacity to complete sales transactions efficiently).
A well-located roadside stand typically draws a large enough crowd to sell through its available inventory.