The operators of the Palm Coast Farmers Market are hoping to start a community market in Ormond Beach.
William Meyer and Kevin Freeland met with the Ormond Beach Site Plan Review Committee on Wednesday, Nov. 8, to discuss opening a community market at local funeral home, Volusia Memorial Park at 550 N. Nova Road. The market is proposed to operate in the rear of the park where the funeral home has about 13 acres of undeveloped land, and would take place on the second Friday of every month, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The community market would host up to 40 tents and no funeral services would be held during the market's hours.
Freeland said to the SPRC that some of the businesses they are proposing to work with include those who sell fresh produce, meat, art, soap, honey, maple syrup and handmade clothes. They would like to support small business owners who can't open a brick and mortar location, he said.
"Lately with our market — the Palm Coast Farmer's Market — we've been able to have a small business owner with no experience and guide them into a direction to create businesses that are flourishing." Freeland said. "... So our goal is to really bring that to this community as well."
Meyer said that he and Freeland took over the Palm Coast Farmer's Market earlier this year, though both were vendors prior to that. It was at the market that they met Nicholas DiCristofaro, an employee with Volusia Memorial Park, and they started formulating ideas on how to bring something similar to Ormond Beach.
"We want to build value in the community, through economics and through just basically having a great place for people to come," Meyer said.
Volusia Memorial Park is no stranger to holding community events. DiCristofaro mentioned at the meeting that the park hosts Wreaths Across America every year where up to 2,500 wreaths are placed on the graves of veterans every December. It's an event that usually attracts a crowd of over 300 people, he said. The park also hosts an annual trunk or treat event every Halloween.
Community involvement is part of the mission of Dignity Memorial, the company that runs Volusia Memorial Park, DiCristofaro said. They are also trying to encourage the concept of celebrating life.
"Events like this help break that mystification and that stigma that these places need to be somber," he said. "Really what we're trying to encourage is people to, again, celebrate life and remember those that have passed in dignified and respectful way, and also bringing awareness to our memorial park and all the things that we can do for the community, and all the things that we are already involved in."
The Palm Coast Farmers Market, held every Sunday from 12-4 p.m. at the European Village in Palm Coast, currently has a list of 120 vendors.
Planning Director Steven Spraker told the applicants that they would need to go through a special exception process at the city to open the market and request approval from the commission for outdoor activity at the business. Because no new construction is being proposed, he said that they would not need to hold a neighborhood meeting, but suggested that they reach out to nearby neighbors to inform them of the plan.
Volusia Memorial Park abuts the Talaquah Community to the north. The Tomoka Meadows community is located across the street.
The special exception process would require the applicants go before the Ormond Beach Planning Board and the City Commission for approval.