MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minneapolis Farmers Market opened Thursday in a new downtown location: the Hennepin County Government Center South Plaza.
Last year, construction on Nicollet Mall (the market's usual spot) forced the Downtown Market to move onto Hennepin Ave.
"Hennepin, it was a difficult situation," said Julie Backes with Pflaum Farms. "We'd be on the corners or like the street curb. So you'd have the passing traffic and you'd be literally a foot from the traffic."
Minneapolis Farmers Market Manager Pat Nelson said even though they have gone from 65 vendors at Nicollet Mall to 35 vendors at the Government Center, he believes sales will be up from last year's stint on Hennepin Ave.
"Most of them, at best, were doing one-third of what they were doing on Nicollet Mall. A lot of them were doing closer to 20 percent. So if they're doing $1,000, they're doing $200. So that's a huge difference for a lot of these vendors when this is their livelihood," Nelson said.
Backes agreed, saying, "Our sales were definitely down. They were definitely down. I don't have a great number compare it to but attitudes too really reflect that."
Felita Barber of Eagan bought some flowers at the Downtown Market on Thursday. She never made it out to the market when it was on Hennepin Ave.
"I just couldn't trek that far to make it back on your lunch hour. You've got all these bags you're trying to lug back. So I said, 'No.' I didn't go at all last year," Barber said.
But this year is a fresh start. Minneapolis Farmers Market tweeted out that with four hours left, some vendors had already sold out.
"It's much better. It's much better," Backes said.
The Downtown Market will be at the Government Center next year, as well; however, Nelson said he does not know if it will be on the north or south plaza. When construction wraps up, it will move back to Nicollet Mall.
The Downtown Market is open at 300 S. 6th Street every Thursday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. now until November 10.
In addition to Thursday's Farmers Market, Go Outside with Hennepin County will continue its summer programming at the Government Center each Wednesday from June 1 though August 31.