Uptown Market to close halfway through fourth season

Summer ends early for one farmers market
Summer ends early for one farmers market

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Uptown Market opens--here's a first look
Uptown Market

This Sunday will be Uptown Market's last.

The market opened its fourth season in a new location just a month ago, on June 10, and was scheduled to run through the end of September. Instead, the market's mix of crafts, food trucks, and farm-fresh produce will be available just one more time, on July 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. On its Facebook page, the group behind the market wrote that it hopes "this will be a 'farewell' of sorts," and asked friends and supporters to swing by and support it during the last hurrah.

The market's board chair, Brendan Jordan, explained the reasons behind the closing.

Jordan attributes the decision to a breakdown of the volunteer-only system. "We started with a passionate group of volunteers," he says. "But most of the markets in the city have paid staff, and we do not. The past three weeks, since we opened, drove home that we were not operating at the level we had in past years."

Jordan notes that among the symptoms of the volunteer shortage are a decline in customers and vendors. "We have nine vendors who rented for the full season, and we really need about 15 to break even, and 20 to 26 for a healthy market that people want to go to," he says.

The problems aren't new, and the organizers have tried to address them. This year's move to a new location, in the Intermedia Arts parking lot on Lyndale and 28th Street, was one effort to save money and save the market. "We struggled with a lot of the same issues last year," says Jordan. "We did put forth a major effort to revitalize our board, recruit volunteers, attract vendors."

Asked if the Uptown Market might come back in future summers, Jordan said, "If there's a group of people in the neighborhood interested in bringing it back, we would do everything we could to help them, but I think it would need some new people."

For now, he says, he and the others behind Uptown Market just want to end this Sunday with a bang.

Here's the tweet that broke the news:

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