After more than 30 years, the weekly farmers market in downtown Long Beach is set to end Friday. The announcement came as a surprise to organizers and vendors, and now they are looking for a new location for the market. Hetty Chang reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on July 15, 2013.
Update, July 16, 2013: Harbor Area Farmers Markets will go on as scheduled Friday at 641 Pine Ave., a temporary spot secured after the market was told to leave its original home, according to Julia Kohn, spokeswoman for the market. The bazaar is still searching for a permanent downtown location for its 35 farmers and local food artistans.
The organizers of a popular farmers market in downtown Long Beach scrambled Monday to find a new home after they were abruptly informed they had just days left at the location.
Harbor Area Farmers Markets has organized the market every Friday at City Place – between Third and Fifth streets – since 2004.
They received a letter July 12 stating the property would be canceling the Friday event, effective immediately, according to market manager Dale Whitney.
"We do have some customers who go all the way back to 1980 when we started the market in this area," Whitney said.
The farmers market attracts as many as 3,000 people to the area every Friday, according to organizers. Vendors who depend on that business said they were stunned by the news.
"On Friday, a customer came to the table to express their sympathy that they were closing the marketplace, which was a big surprise to me," said Saundra Christmas, who owns Mabel's Gourmet Pralines.
NBC4’s calls to The City Place were not returned by the time of publication.
Redevelopment and shifting of tenants were some of the reasons given for the change, according to Robert Garcia, vice mayor of Long Beach.
"There's lot of development so the owners felt that it was time to part from the current farmers market," Garcia said. "And that's why they're looking for a new spot."
Market organizers were working with the city to come up with a new location in time for Friday's market.