PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Lloyd Farmers Market set up shop for the last time Tuesday. After 11 years of operation at the former carousel site in the Lloyd District, the market director says they can’t continue.
Market Director Alison DeLancey said things really took a turn for the Lloyd Farmers Market at the start of the pandemic. When employees started working from home and the Lloyd District office buildings emptied, vendors started seeing fewer customers.
“We’ve stuck it out for almost two years, you know, this situation, but we just really can’t maintain it,” DeLancey said.
She said the market has seen a lot of turnover in the last two years among vendors because some businesses haven’t been breaking even. The cost of paying employees to staff the booths and to transport the product wasn’t worth the revenue they earned.
“We’re here to support the vendors and support Oregon and Washington farmers, but if folks aren’t making money, that’s not great support,” she said.
At the final event Tuesday, the air was full of music from a violin soloist who was serenading shoppers. Vendors were bundled up to brave the cold. Many said they were sad the market was closing but said they had a lot of business on their final day.
DeLancey said the Lloyd Farmers Market is sister markets with the Hollywood Farmers Market. Anyone who still has wooden tokens from the Lloyd Farmers Market can still use them at the Hollywood market. People can purchase the tokens and use them as a way to pay vendors, so vendors don’t need to do debit and credit card transactions. Tokens are also given to EBT recipients.
While the Hollywood Farmers Market accepts the wooden tokens, DeLancey encourages shoppers to support all local farmers markets in Portland and beyond.
For now, DeLancey said she’ll try to continue supporting the vendors by sharing other events and locations where they’re selling their products on the Lloyd Farmers Market social media pages, on Facebook and Instagram.
She said market staff will remain open-minded to opportunities in the future. If the option to re-establish a farmers market in the Lloyd District looks fruitful in the future, they might explore it.
“If suddenly all these office buildings refilled, who knows?” she said.
DeLaney said she’ll miss the neighborhood, the music, the vendors, the dogs and children she’s seen grow up. She’s thankful for the many memories she’s made over the years at the market, but for now this is goodbye.
“Gosharoo, we hope to see you again soon,” she said.