How Regina Sees the RFM: The Open: design collaborative Discussion
Last year was a winning year for the RFM. We won 2013 Regina’s Best Public Event, attracted thousands, successfully conducted our first evening Markets with Market under the Stars, added a new location at University of Regina, opened up a twitter account, added several food trucks with high quality eats, launched a new website, and hired a new employee. Much of this success is due to a new 5 year Strategic Plan for the RFM and a Board committed to making the RFM the absolute best!
What is planned for this year? There is a great deal of work being done to find a new indoor location. Due to our assertive Strategic Plan we have welcomed some new, business minded vendors. We have outgrown the space in Cathedral, especially in the winter months. It is a difficult search as we are in need of good parking, accessibility, transit lines for our consumers, 5000 square feet and above, and must fulfill electrical needs that are greater than before. It has been years that we have been looking at dozens of locations. The challenges we have faced are other bookings on Saturdays which means missed Markets. We want a space that is comfortable for our consumers and offers permanence.
Last week a surprising thing happened. Brad Pickard, an architect from a group called Open: design collaborative, executed a design concept for the Traveller’s Building on Broad Street between 11th and 12th Avenue. The design was for an indoor Regina Farmers’ Market. The Traveller’s Building is currently on sale for $1.6 million. See the link here to their blog article. Last Sunday night I started to receive tweets about the concept from our followers. I commented that I thought it looked beautiful and liked the fact that it repurposed an older building for practical use. There was flurry of tweets of many users admiring the project. Our followers are aware that we are looking for new space. Brad Pickard went on Sheila Coles last Monday and had a great interview explaining what Open: design collaborative does. Here is the link to the audio of that interview.
Well that was just the beginning of an interesting week for us. I received some messages from vendors thinking that the Board had bought the building and were already in planning stages! I thought, well maybe a few people haven’t read this right? Then on Tuesday there was an Open House Member Reception at Regina Downtown BID. Wouldn’t you know it, City employees and even a City Councillor I talked to thought we were in the process of buying the building too! Another surprise, I ran into a different architect that has been hired by the building owner to assess that building. I put out a Manager’s Message to the vendors at the last Market explaining what was happening. Yesterday the Leader Post Regina wrote an article about the concept here.
So, some thoughts that come from this. I appreciate the beautiful rendering Brad did. I just want to clear up that we are NOT in the process of buying a building. Where we are at this year; we need a much clearer vision from our vendors about want they want for Indoor Market space. We are looking for new larger space to lease in the meantime. I think that the excitement I saw in the faces of many people I ran into this week show how invested Regina is in what we do. They feel that we belong to them, that we are an organization they are proud of. We are a critical piece to a successful community. A vision from one architect lead to a surprising week. We think our Market is great but even then, sometimes it is nice to be reminded of how our community thinks of us. It is awesome to hear they have big hopes and dreams for us! If you have any ideas or help for us on Indoor Markets please e-mail [email protected]. In the meantime I hope to see you all at our opening of Plaza Markets on Saturday May 3rd at 9am! Ada