Shops at Dayton Farmers Market updates name, facade
For over 28 years, the Dayton Farmers Market has provided its customers with quality products, sold by local shop-owners, in a friendly atmosphere. That is never going to change. But what has changed is the perception and understanding of what a “farmers market” is all about.
The Dayton Market opened in 1987 modeling itself after the markets of Lancaster County, Pa., where local folks sold their farm products and handmade items in one location. It was a natural fit for rural Dayton, surrounded by Valley farms and a large Mennonite community.
Over the years, farmers markets have sprung up all over the country and have gained recognition as offering a specific customer experience, primarily by providing “farm-fresh” produce sold on the back of a farm truck or temporary table.
To help build the differentiation from an open air farmer’s market, the Dayton Farmer’s Market changed its name to “The Shops at Dayton Farmers Market” to let customers know that this unique space is composed of many permanent, individual shops, open year-round, with a wide variety of merchandise.
Seasonal produce is still available, as are local meats, baked goods, and candies, but the 20 stores offer many other products from floral arrangements to lamps, from collectables to Virginiamade products to kitchen wares and more.
The name beginning with “Shops” proved to be long and cumbersome, and customers with pre-conceived notions of what a “farmers market” should be were still surprised. So, after research and branding discussions with local tourism and advertising experts as well as their loyal customers, the name has now been simplified to “The Dayton Market.”
The merchants describe this as a Community of Shops to let customers know that they are entering a special space of locally owned and operated stores, much like an old-fashioned downtown, where merchants and customers are neighbors and friends.
One frequent shopper remarked: “When I first moved to the area and came to the market, I expected a traditional farmer’s market. But I love these shops and return often, and I am glad to see the more appropriate name.”
Fred Shank, owner of The Dayton Market, has been upgrading the face of the building and adding new signage and better lighting to welcome visitors. When asked about the name change, he replied, “It just makes sense.”
Norwood Shank, owner of the Kaffee Klatsch says “I have been in the market a little over 17 years, and I too struggled with the name change. The name Dayton Farmers Market is well-known and widely known. But with the popularity of farmers markets nowadays, it was becoming more difficult for people to understand what we really are. I don’t consider the name change a rebranding as much as a “truth in advertising” thing. I hope people realize that when they come to The Dayton Market they will still be able to shop local and enjoy friends and family as they walk the “streets” of this community of shops.”
he Dayton Market is open Tuesday through Saturday throughout the holiday season and is located in Dayton on Route 42, just 3 miles south of Harrisonburg.
Search Facebook for The Dayton Market or call (540) 879-3801