I have been selling my handmade soap at the Noblesville Farmers Market for about 10 years now. When I first started at the Farmers Market, there was a nice female director who was very helpful. She was not a vendor. She would watch vendor booths if we had to use the restroom, and so forth. Then Jeff Zeckel took over as volunteer director of the Noblesville Farmers Market. That's when Farmers Market grew larger and became less personal and I believe, more about making money than helping downtown Noblesville. As a program of Noblesville Main Street, Farmers Market does not help downtown merchants, of which I am one (retail location in Logan Village Mall).
My problems with Jeff started when I taught a young lady to make handcrafted lotion. I made the error of sharing my original recipe and trust with this young lady that she would not use my creative work to compete against me at the Noblesville Farmers Market. My students agreed to that, except for this one. Lyssa tried to get in with some vegetable vendors 2 doors down. I had asked her not to do that. Her mom gave me the phone number of the vendors, and I contacted them to ask her not to do that. I didn't mind if she used another lotion recipe, but not one I created. Jeff found out that I did that and got upset, because he had okay'ed the lotion lady to join the veggie farmers. I was shocked that he was not willing to respect my creative rights. In the end, the decision was between me and Lyssa and did not have anything to do with Noblesville Farmers Market. Lyssa had assured me she would not do something she ended up doing. Once again, I do not mind that she sells lotions, but not with my creative and hard work of designing the lotion recipe. That's just not right. I have changed the lotion recipe in my classes to a commercial one so this will not happen again.
I was on the vendor selection committee for the Farmers Market and consistently found Jeff going off and making decisions about vendors without consulting the committee. One year we had a guy selling purses from China. Jeff let him sell, even though the market is 100% handcrafted.
I spoke up and when Jeff yelled at me I put my 2 cents in. As a result, Jeff stopped speaking to me. He, volunteer director of the Noblesville Farmers Market, believes that he speaks for the Main Street organization but he is a volunteer, not an employee. There have been others who have been offended by his abrupt manner, but no one speaks up. We vendors want fairness. We want to be treated kindly. Forget it with Jeff. He's out there selling his pulled pork and is so into what he is selling that I do not believe he can be an effective volunteer director for the Noblesville Farmers Market.
The latest is that I allege Jeff has used internal vendor information to solicit vendors for his private Winter Market that will run when Noblesville Farmers Market is not running. He is leaving out a few people, including me. He wrote me an email where he told me I was not invited to sell at the private market, which is an LLC between him and two partners. I spoke with one of those partners. She knew absolutely nothing about his decision. Boy does this sound familiar!
A pizza place near downtown cannot sell pizza at the Farmers Market. I believe Jeff doesn't want her competition. Yet she is a brick and mortar business near downtown who deserves to have a spot there because she's paying taxes and has a business near downtown. The only thing we vendors can eat if we want to eat at the market as far as lunch is pulled pork, or pork. I can't eat Jeff's pork. I got food poisoning from it. I buy a pork sandwich from the one other vendor who just THIS year was allowed to sell his pork sandwiches and they are very good. But if I want pizza, or gelato on a weekly basis, they are not allowed. I don't understand why Jeff is allowed to sell pork and these Noblesville merchants can't set up with their food booths to compete with him. People don't want to eat pulled pork all the time.
Finally, I heard of a story where two Noblesville children showed up with their instruments to play music at the Noblesville Farmers Market. To the best of my understanding, I heard that Jeff yelled at them because they didn't have an appointment to play their music. If you are the mom of those two children who confronted Jeff on his abruptness towards the children, I want to hear from you please.
I would like to organize a group of vendors who would like Noblesville Farmers Market to have a volunteer director that is not a vendor, for fairness.
Also, if you buy Fragrant Blossom Soaps at the Noblesville Farmers Market, please contact me because I have a feeling that by posting this, Jeff will make sure I get kicked out of the market. He's been very rude to me.
If you are a business who has been denied participation in the market, please contact me. I would like to lodge a formal complaint to get things turned around, so they can be the way they used to be before Jeff took over the Farmers Market!
That City Market that is being planned I allege using vendor emails from the Farmers Market, should benefit Noblesville, not Jeff's pocket!