As the Franklin Farmers Market celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend, management has informed owners of The Factory at Franklin, Holladay Properties, that they will be looking for a new home when the lease expires in January 2025.
Amy Tavalin, director of the Franklin Farmers Market, said there were no hard feelings, but it was time for the market to spread its wings and grow.
“The new owners have been great meeting with us and trying to find a solution for us,” Tavalin said. “But the area where they want to move the market will not allow us to grow.”
Holladay Properties proposed that the Farmers Market be moved to the north side of the property across from Liberty Pike and hidden from view from Liberty Pike and Franklin Road. Holladay Properties would build a shed there, but Tavalin is worried about parking and access for this side of The Factory and doesn’t think it’s a good place to market.
“We’re a year-round market, and it’s time for us to look for something that will shelter us during the winter months and give us room to grow,” she said.
Parking would be the biggest challenge for the proposed market location at The Factory. Customers had to park in front of the factory on Franklin Road. Liberty Pike’s current rear parking lot is under consideration for development.
“We have enjoyed hosting the Franklin Farmers Market at The Factory, and I know our customers have enjoyed having such convenient access to delicious, locally grown food,” said Allen Arender, partner and senior vice president of The Factory. development for Holladay Properties.
“We are so grateful to The Factory and Calvin Lehew for providing this space and building this shed 16 years ago,” Tavalin added. “We have loved being here and the home we have created over the past 20 years. We don’t want to leave, but we are growing and will need a space that will allow us to grow. We are already the biggest market in Middle Tennessee growers.
The next step for the Farmer’s Market is to start looking for new spaces. Tavalin also plans to survey customers and vendors for ideas on how to build community support.
“We want to hear from our vendors, our customers, about what they would like to see in the next Franklin Farmers Market,” Tavalin said. “We appreciate their feedback and look forward to their ideas. I would love to have chef demos, classrooms for continuing education, bring in farmers to teach, and continue our mission to support Tennessee agriculture.
Tavalin said the market will apply for local, state and federal grants that could help them find a new location for the market. She also noted that Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher has been a great resource for the market with ideas on subsidies.
“Between writing the grant application and fundraising, I feel good about making this happen,” Tavalin said. “We’re thrilled, but also grateful to Holladay Properties for trying to make this work.”
Ron Beagle, marketing manager for the market, said farmers are excited about the future.
“Farmers and vendors we’ve talked to about a potential move are thrilled,” he said.
The market will remain at its current location until the end of 2024. Holladay Properties is investigating other opportunities to create another farmers market.
“We will remain focused on ensuring a wonderful experience for everyone who comes to Franklin Farmers Market while he remains at The Factory,” Arender said. “We are also looking at other opportunities to ensure there will still be a great farmers market at The Factory beyond 2025 as part of The Factory’s continued evolutions as a community gem.”