The Wetaskiwin Public Market kept their doors open to the public throughout the past few months. The market which runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays and 2-7 p.m. on Fridays has continuously followed social distancing and sanitizing protocols throughout their pandemic sales.
Manager of the market Werner Schmid says that the market was able to stay open despite a 50 per cent decrease in vendors and customers.
“They didn’t show up for weeks because they were afraid,” Schmid says about vendors.
He also believes this fear was a major factor in the decrease in customers, in addition to many customers relying on big food-chain stores for their groceries during the pandemic.
“It’s hard to convince them to change their habits,” Schmid says. “It’s an uphill battle.”
However, in weeks past when major grocery chains were seeing shortages of baking supplies such as flour and yeast, the market had plenty left to sell. The market currently still has flour and yeast available for sale.
“We have no shortage here,” Schmid says.
Some vendors at the market have been adapting to the conditions of the pandemic, including selling cloth masks and alcohol disinfectant wipes at their booths.
Another vendor at the market is Storm Bison. Storm Bison is a group of small businesses across Alberta that have come together to help each other ‘weather the storm’.
“Everyone is welcome, any small business is welcome to it,” says Storm Bison booth vendor Tracey McCleave. Selling products at local markets is Storm Bison’s way of “getting back in the grassroots of our community,” McCleave says.
Storm Bison is made up of a collection of small businesses from plumbing to woodwork and more.
“We’re not just a website anymore, we’re an actual group of people and we’re going to get through this together.”