London entrepreneur Dave Cook has sold his farmers’ market to Western Fair District, part of an ongoing process one fair official called “vertical integration.”
Western Fair District buys farmers' market
“That market has become a real spot for the neighbourhood,” said Mike Woods, chief operator for the fair. “We’re hoping to take that and kick it to another level.”
Terms of the deal are confidential. The fair district is the current landlord for Cook’s business.
Cook announced the sale in a message on Facebook.
Cook is the founder of Fire Roasted Coffee Co. He could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
Woods said the market is a crucial piece of the fair’s future. It made sense to buy the market because of the fair’s growing association with Fanshawe College’s culinary programs and its agricultural history, as well as the ongoing fresh-food revolution.
“Gee, that’s a really great fit for an agricultural campus-type situation” is the thought that occurred to fair leadership, Woods said.
Cook and the fair have spoken on numerous occasions during the years, he added.
The purchase was part of the fair “solidifying its future,” Woods said. Also as part of the “vertical integration” goal, the Western Fair District recently has moved to replace vendor shows with programming of its own.
“Those things are easier to do when you have an ownership stake.”
For now, fair officials will introduce themselves to the vendors who occupy the market, held Saturdays in the Confederation Building owned by the fair. There are about 40 vendors on the first floor and more than 40 more on the second floor.
Some of the vendors include Everything Tea, Jantzi’s Cheese and Happy Girl Dog Treats and Supplements.
“We want to share with them who Western Fair is and how we operate,” Woods said. “We just want to keep this great asset and keep it growing.”
The market currently operates on Saturdays.
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