Outstanding Market Manager of the Year Award
This award recognizes those who have shown innovation in administration techniques, events, community involvement and promotions to improve their market.
Nomination must be made by a minimum of one market board members and two vendors.
To be considered for this award candidates should demonstrate these qualities:
Strong communication skills including the ability to communicate with vendors, board members, customers, media, surrounding businesses, potential partners, etc. They must have a proven ability to stay on top of social media and spread the word about the market but also to quickly and effectively deal with complaints before they become a problem.
Candidates should strive for continuous improvement for example: learning from their peers, learning from every store they go into, from every food show they watch, etc.
Candidates should be teachers: someone who is able to take their knowledge and help vendors improve, help customers and others understand their market issues, etc.
Candidates should be visionaries, big picture thinkers. Where do they see the market in 5 years and how will they help to get it there?
Other important qualities include: being in tune with what customers want and with what vendors need, showing creative thinking (in terms of layout, programs, etc.), being well rounded in retail, merchandising and sales, show creative problem solving, show integrity.
We were overwhelmed with candidates that met these criteria. We would like to recognize all of the wonderful managers who were nominated by their vendors, board members and customers. The nominees were:
Elaine Doucette, Ottewell Artisan Farmers’ Market,
Shauna Bartholow & Karen Campbell, Sundre Farmers’ Market
Melonie McKee, Millarville Farmers’ Market,
Darice Rach, Grande Prairie Farmers’ Market,
Cheryl Shea, Crossfield Farmers’ Market
And the winner is Melonie McKee, Millarville Farmers’ Market.
Melonie was nominated by MANY of her vendors, customers and board members. Melonie is accommodating, efficient, personable, organized, cheerful, punctual and passionate about what she does. She has excelled in developing the market into an event to attend. She manages staff, volunteers and discontent vendors very professionally. She solves problems from storms leveling booths to collapsed arenas and IT connections not functioning. She applies for and gets grants in order to upgrade the facilities at the Millarville Farmers Market. She also comes up with new ideas for events to keep the market exciting for the clients. Melonie’s motto is “remember, there is a solution to every problem” and encourages her vendors to always come to her with their concerns. She’s calm, listens, makes herself available, answers emails very promptly and she has a strong backbone. She stands up to problems and issues when they arise. And she has a great sense of humour. She does it all in a kind manner, without losing her cool. She is always pleasant and kind. She is a true professional and a great market manager.
Melonie McKee and Colina Clark
Outstanding Perennial Vendor Award
This award recognizes the diversity of the talents of AFMA’s long term Make it, Bake it, Grow it vendors. The vendors must have been in business for five or more years.
To be considered for this award the vendors must demonstrate these qualities. The products have to be local and unique. Characteristics of excellence and uniqueness include: packaging, labeling, marketing, popularity and customer impact for the market. These vendors have products that have stood the test of time, have a loyal customer base, and attract customers to the market.
This year’s winner is Colina Clark of Cian’s Mustard. Colina and her family have been selling mustard for many years. They are considered vendor role models. They are the first to help the new vendors, volunteer for market activities that are taking place, or helping with random items within the market facility. Colina also sits on the Millarville Market Committee and is always there to offer help in any way even as a busy mom and entrepreneur. If there is a need, she will step in and help with market manager duties too! The other vendors look to them for advice and insight during market days, at other markets and outside of market days. They have a fantastic product that is very popular with our visitors, as well as other vendors. The best part…they are sourcing their ingredients from local, Alberta vendors! The mustard, the spices, the beer, and the yogurt! They have really stepped things up the last couple of years in securing their own production facility as well. Cian’s Mustard knows what it means to be local, shop local and support local!
Congratulations Colina and family!
Outstanding New Vendor Award
This award also recognizes the diversity of the talents of AFMA’s new Make it, Bake it, Grow it vendors. This time for vendors who have been selling three years or less. The products have to be local and unique. Characteristics of excellence and uniqueness include: packaging, labeling, marketing, popularity and customer impact for the market.
This year’s winner is Katie Kingdon of Tamarack Jack’s Honey and Meadery. If you have been to any of the over 30 markets across Alberta where they sell their products you will have seen the wonderful, eye catching plaid display at the booth of Tamarack Jack’s. Along with the amazing display they have friendly, helpful staff. The staff can tell you all about their fantastic products, including the history of mead and the health benefits of honey. Most importantly their loyal customers rave about the wonderful product!
AFMA Farmers Market Awards
We would like to once again acknowledge last season’s award winners and to thank our wonderful award sponsor, Western Financial Group. Our members make us great and our sponsors help make things happen. Please nominate anyone who you feel has contributed exceptional work toward their businesses and the excellence of Alberta Approved Farmers’ Markets.
Nominations will close on February 5, 2021 and the awards will be presented at the conference in February 2021.