TO current and prospective GILMANTON’S OWN VENDORS
If you are a farmer, or even just starting out, or an artists, or make artisanal goods, and you are based in the nearby Belknap/Merrimack County region, please consider selling through Gilmanton’s Own Market (GO). This is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, so designated by the state and federal government because they recognize us as serving a special mission to support our community and community development.
The Market is closed for the winter, but we welcome conversations with farmers, artists, and artisans who are interested in the possibility of selling your products through the Market next season. The Market is open April through December, four days a week in high season in non-pandemic times.
We do not know whether the COVID pandemic will still be raging in April when we start up again. An important part of our community support is to make sure we do everything we can to protect our community’s health and safety, so through much of 2020 we operated only through contactless curbside pickup with online ordering. Even if (as we assume) we are physically open in 2021, we are likely to continue some online ordering/curbside pickup for those who need it.
What is the difference between this Market and a regular retail market?
There are many differences. Among the major ones: This is a nonprofit organization — there is no “owner” who runs this market to make a profit. The only people who make money from the Market personally are the vendors. Vendors individually determine the price of their own products. All proceeds earned by the Market are used to cover the expenses of pursuing the mission of Gilmanton’s Own, Inc. The Market sells only locally-grown or -produced goods. The organization is run by a volunteer Board of Directors elected to serve for specific terms of office.
What is the difference between this Market and a “farmers market?”
New Hampshire defines a farmers market as “an event or series of events at which 2 or more vendors of agricultural commodities gather for purposes of offering for sale such commodities to the public.” Gilmanton’s Own Market is not a series of “events,” but is an ongoing entity. But the major differences have more to do with operations.
Farmers markets typically require full set-up and take-down on the days they operate. GO rents space to create an attractive and appropriate retail environment for food storage and for display and sales of all types of products we sell. In most farmers markets vendors have to prepare their products just in time for market, take them there, set up their own tables and tents, and clear out at the end of the day with whatever is not sold. They must be at their tables during Market time (or have someone there). At GO shelf-stable products can remain in the market indefinitely and perishable items can stay as long as conditions (including refrigeration and freezing) allow. Vendors may volunteer to work in the Market, thus reducing their fees, but may opt to attend to other things while the Market is operating because they don’t have to be present — time is valuable!
Farmers market vendors generally pay a fee for the space they will occupy for a certain number of weeks. GO fees are a commission based on dollar sales. Most summer farmers markets are held outdoors and therefore subject to the elements. GO provides climate control and eliminates the problem of insect and animal pests. State product regulations are more rigorously applied to GO than to farmers markets because we offer more than event space where independent vendors can sell their wares.
How do the finances of Gilmanton’s Own Market work?
GO’s operations are paid for largely out of vendor commissions, but as a 501(c)3 we are also grateful for the philanthropic support we receive. We have begun to seek grant funds, and hope focus on this in the future. GO operates entirely on volunteer labor at this time. We hope to become solvent enough to hire assistance in the Market in the future.
How do vendor fees work?
Our fee structure is derived from financial analysis of our operations, including past patterns of sales and expenses. The standard fee is 25% of dollar sales, or 15% for those who contribute labor. The fees cover the rent, utilities, equipment, software and hardware systems (for example, for credit card sales and inventory), freezing and refrigeration, promotion, insurance for the facility, licenses, and other expenses that allow the Market to operate. The “commons” provides other services; we offer security; we keep careful records and provide useful inventory and sales information and, obviously, the volunteer labor that keeps up the space, its inventory, and does the selling. We help connect folks with each other to be helpful with each others’ businesses, and we operate as a community. When the Market is not open we continue to find ways to support our community. We understand that farmers market fees are typically lower, but those generally provide little more than room for the vendors’ tables and tents and perhaps some general promotion of the event that generally happens only once a week. And obviously the fees can also represent a bigger financial expenditure than selling out of your home, but home sales take time and resources, and we all know that home-based selling tables have security problems. Many GO vendors sell their products in other ways as well, including participating in farmers markets, home sales, retail outlets, and direct to restaurant sales.
Are other expenses involved in selling through GO? Vendors are expected to label their products appropriately and according to legal requirements. Those who sell edible items and body products must have liability insurance unless GO buys the product outright. (You want to be protected in case someone decides to blame your product for the fact that they got sick or got a rash.)
How can I become a GO vendor?
If you are a farmer, artist, or artisan in the local (Belknap/Merrimack Counties) region, please take a further look at our guidelines. We have a simple vendor application attached to this page. You can contact us at any time at email@example.com to ask questions, consult, or seek help with completing the form. The Board of Directors tries to consider each application within a couple of weeks.
GILMANTON’S OWN MARKET POLICIES, INFORMATION, and FORMS FOR VENDORS:
The Policies & Information document is here: GOIVendoGuidelines2020
The Vendor Application is here: goiapplication2020
The Vendor Update/Addendum Form is here: Addendum to Application
IF YOU ARE A CURRENT VENDOR AND ARE THINKING OF BRINGING A NEW PRODUCT TO THE MARKET: You are welcome to bring in new products that are very close in kind to what you already offer through the Market, although it is important to consult with the coordinator you work with. For example, bakers might try a new kind of baked good, a knitter might do mittens as well as socks, vegetable growers might bring in new produce. If you wish to bring in goods in a new category, you should fill out an Addendum to Application to be considered by the Board. For example, a vegetable grower may consider baking, a crafts person may consider providing eggs or vegetables, etc.
INVENTORY LIST FORMS FOR CURRENT VENDORS: Life is hectic at the beginning of the Market day and we want to make sure we enter your inventory and prices correctly (so you get paid the right amount!). This year we are asking all vendors to bring a filled-in inventory sheet with you when you bring your goods to Market. Below this paragraph you will see the connection to bring up either version you want: Excel or Word. (Doesn’t matter to us.) You have 2 options. Either bring up the form you want, fill it in, and print it, then sign. Or bring up the form you want, print it, and fill it all in by hand. If you don’t have a printer we will have printed forms available for you to take home and use. Pick one up for the next time when you drop off your goods.
Excel Version: INVENTORY 2019
Word Version: INVENTORY2019
ALSO: Please help us make sure we have updated bar codes and bar code labels for you for all your products. It is the bar code system that makes sure our electronic records track your inventory and sales accurately.