Petersburg change to farmers’ market location draws concern

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The city of Petersburg has decided to change the location of its popular farmers’ market.

The farmers’ market was usually held every Saturday under the bridge near the train station, but effective November 7, the city will move the location to 125 E. Washington St.

Some farmers are concerned that they will lose customers because of the venue change.

“People get used to coming to one spot, you lose a lot. You might pick up some more, but you lose some,” says Leeroy Jarratt, a farmer.

The city also wants for every participating farmer to start using EBT and credit card machines, instead of just cash. Jarratt already has those payment machines for his business, but he’s concerned the changes will hurt smaller farmers.

“You take somebody who is just selling a little something of wheat, they can’t afford all that equipment,” says Jarratt.

The city says the policy changes will be beneficial for farmers and customers. The city also believes the location at 125 E. Washington, right of I-95 and close to the bus station will create easier access.

“One of the reasons why we moved it downtown is to make it a bit more accessible and a bit more in the main thoroughfare in the city. So people are able to see it as soon as they get off exit 52,” says Jay Ell Alexander, the spokesperson for the city.

City officials also say even though credit card and EBT machines are strongly encouraged, they will work with any small business that cannot afford the machines.

Vendors will also be required to pay $25 for two tables. In the past, reserving a space was free. Another major change is every vendor will be required to have a business license starting next year.

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