I woke up this morning like most any other day. It was dark, Tank (age 2) had crawled into bed with Heather and I. Margot (4 months), who wasn’t here a year ago, was snoozing away. No one was nervous, excited, or anxious to see what/who the day would bring. Maybe it’s because it’s a cold, sleepy Sunday this year… definitely nothing like Friday, December 15th last year.
That Friday was special. It was the first official day that Florida Farmers Market was open to the public! The first faces I saw come through the door were friends; the smiling faces of Caleb and Jennifer Davidson and their boys Mitchell and Maddox were the best way I could have started my day. They made a point to be there when we opened the doors, to show us the love and support that they show everyone they touch in their lives. Their presence was like a green light from the community saying “GO!” …we haven’t stopped since.
Many other friends and family members, as well as other people who were just curious, came to help us christen FFM to set sail on an adventure based on the ideas that Heather and I came up with in many late night conversations. They got to see the result of all the long hours of cleaning, painting, building, renovating, plumbing, electrical work, and more that took 9 months of our lives to reach. A few things are still on the shelf that were here the first day, but very few. We’ve had visitors from all over stop and have a cup of our gourmet coffee on their way to somewhere else. Nearly every person that’s walked in the door has said, “This is bigger/nicer/fancier than it looks from the outside.” The TV fish tank still surprises new visitors and still captivates regular customers. There is a lot to see and do here.
I’m proud that we stuck to our guns and our hours (9-5 became 7-7 daily when we opened the cafe), and we only closed 4 days of 365 (Christmas, New Years, Easter, & Margot’s birth). We’ve built on to the building to expand our ability to entertain more guests, covered up the mud with asphalt, put a roof on the pergola for the outdoor market, built shelves and displays, arranged and rearranged countless times, and even installed a projector and screen for 100″ of TV in the cafe. We’ve opened early and late for community events like outdoor market sales, parties, trick or treating, Santa even came for photos with the kids. It’s been a BIG first year!
To all of our friends old and new, we thank you for your support! If I made a list, it would take forever to write all of your names down, so I won’t do that. I do have one person to thank specifically that many of you might not know is involved. Bill Smith and his family have provided us with the property and building to accomplish this community building effort for Paxton. Without Bill’s generosity and the cooperation of the educational trust, the Meghan Burkhart-Smith Foundation (in memorial of his daughter), we would be set up in an old house without the capacity to reach the community like we have here. So the next time you see him, thank him. He put it out there that he wanted someone to do something with his building and land to benefit Paxton’s community, and we took him up on the offer. This day would just be another day if we hadn’t. Thank you, Bill. We really appreciate you! Thank you employees old and new… Jenn, Haleigh, Danielle, Robert, Karlie, and Emily. You help us keep it going! Thank you Paxton and the surrounding areas for taking part, for shopping and eating locally, and for helping us build up the community for everyone’s benefit!
So who wants some gourmet coffee? (I got freshly roasted coffee yesterday) … It’s on the house today :)