A new market season means lots of new vendors.

With the start of the 2018 market season well underway it’s likely you’ve been welcoming lots of new vendors to your market. To make things easy, we’ve put together a need-to-know list of three tips to help you make vendors feel included, comfortable and bound for success.

Vendors are the heart of our markets, and as the market manager, it’s your job to make them feel welcome in a new environment. 

Michelle Wolf, the instructor of the Ontario Market Manager Certification Program webinars, says an important aspect of vendor acquisition and retention is to ensure all vendors feel they are a valued, contributing members of the market.

Here are three simple things you can do for new vendors that will make them happy to stick with your market for the long haul:

1. Share the good news with your market in advance

Before your vendor arrives for the first market day, send an internal communication to your market to introduce the new vendor to your current vendors, staff, and volunteers. Get them excited about their new neighbour by giving a little bit of background information about the new vendor, like where are they from and what will they add to the market. Not only will this prepare vendors, staff, and volunteers for the new face, it will also provide some conversation starters for when they meet the new vendor.

2. Make a great first-market-day impression

Greet your new vendor on their first day at your market with a warm smile, handshake and maybe even a hot coffee. It’s important to introduce yourself, let them know where they can find you on market day and how can they can contact you when they have questions. This interaction doesn’t have to take long. As long as you are personable, genuine and welcoming, they will see how much you care about the success of your vendors and market. This alone will create a pleasant and lasting first-day impression.

3. Provide resources

Create a ‘New Vendors Info’ package for them that includes all the must-have resources and information for a new vendor in your particular market. This can consist of information like:

  • Important times: when to arrive at market for set up, what time to start end of day pack-up
  • When and where to dispose of trash
  • Location of bathrooms
  • Emergency information (eg. fire escape, if applicable)
  • Calendar of regularly scheduled market meetings
  • Your contact information
  • The names and brief backgrounder of neighbouring vendors
  • The FMO website address where they can find tons of useful resources (such as a vendor supplies checklist, information about the MyPick® Program and its benefits)
  • Anything else you can think of that pertains to a successful day at your market

You can also share these Tips for New Vendors:

  • Always stand (don’t sit) at your stall and greet your customers. Smile, be warm and welcoming.
  • Introduce yourself to your neighbours and be mindful of their space. For example, when you are done setting up for the day, move your vehicle out of the way to make room for them.
  • Offer a good selection of your product and make sure you have enough to last throughout the market day.
  • Keep learning, training and be willing to change and grow to help create a happy, friendly, cooperative market vibe!