Dublin Market at Bridge Park organizers pleased despite pandemic

SARAH SOLE
ssole@thisweeknews.com
Jan Kapustin of Dublin picks out tomatoes from Wishingwell Farms at the Dublin Market at Bridge Park on Sept. 12.

Despite the changes to farmers markets this year because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, manager Mirana Swaney still is calling the Dublin Market at Bridge Park a success.

The market began in June and will continue from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Sept. 26 at Banker Drive and Longshore Loop.

Swaney, who is also assistant vice president of marketing for Bridge Park developer Crawford Hoying, said she has heard from vendors that they are still happy with sales of their products.

"I think that they've adjusted to the current climate," she said.

The market was done on a smaller scale this year to accommodate social-distancing standards.

In 2019, about 100 vendors participated; this year, 25 to 30 vendors participated, Swaney said.

Attendance also been been down, Swaney said. Between 3,000 to 5,000 people typically attended the market each Saturday in 2019, but this year, approximately 1,000 people attended, she said.

"It's honestly exactly what we wanted to be," Swaney said.

People are likely more cautious about leaving their homes during the pandemic and are more focused on buying what they want as opposed to leisurely strolling, she said. Josh Combs, who runs Combs Bee Farm with his wife, Katrina, said he also noticed market patrons were there to buy items rather than to socialize.

The Combs Bee Farm is based in Milford Center, but the Combs manage hives throughout central Ohio. Their products include raw seasonal honey, infused honey, creamed honey, lip balm, handmade soap, beeswax and raw bee pollen.

The couple's business has lost at least 50% of its direct-to-customer honey sales this year because summer festivals being canceled, Combs said. When he learned the Dublin market was going to be held this summer, "I was like where do I show up?" Combs said.

Although the crowd is smaller than the past year and sales are down at least 40%, Combs said, participating in the Dublin market has been worth it.

Cody Miller, who manages Rime Time Curiously Crafted Pops, said he has been thankful for loyal customers at the Dublin market.

He said he was surprised by how busy the market has been.

Based in Columbus south of German Village, Rime Time offers pops in a variety of flavors, such as blueberry lemonade, cookies and cream, peanut butter and jelly, cookie milk pop and chocolate milk, Miller said.

Rime Time has had a strong customer base at the Dublin market, Miller said. A lot of his business comes from farmers markets, he said, and he's been thankful they have been around this summer.

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Jacob Poiner with Mohican Flower Farm gets a bouquet ready for a customer at the Dublin Market at Bridge Park on Sept. 12. The final day for the 2020 market is Sept. 26.