Three local guys are hustling to launch a new winter farmers market in Missoulajust in time for a pre-Halloween grand opening.
"We're going to have a costume contest," says Jack Wallace, one of the three partners opening the Missoula Winter Market on Oct. 26.
Wallace, Morgan Sepko and Allen Baum own the Missoula website development company CityLynx. The company works to grow small businesses and Wallace says opening a winter market for entrepreneurs, foodies and gardeners to sell their goods seemed a natural extension of their existing operation. "It was kind of the next step," he says.
As of Oct. 1, CityLynx had 30 vendors slotted to sell crafts, essential oils, aromatherapy and produce in the big white barn they've rented at 2036 Mullan Road.
The partners also want to sell home-baked goods and jams. That's where the plan gets a little sticky. State health code mandates that only official farmers markets, recognized as such by local governments, can sell goods made in household kitchens.
But during the process of researching CityLynx's request to open the Mullan Road market, Missoula City Clerk Marty Rehbein found the laws to be antiquated. To streamline the process required to legally set up a farmers market for CityLynx and others, she's asking the Missoula City Council to update and clarify the requirements.
"I understand that there are other folks who are in the process of establishing a winter market," Rehbein says.
On Oct. 15, council will deliberate two items related to farmers markets. The first is the code cleanup. The second, if approved, will specifically designate CityLynx's operation a farmers market, allowing vendors to sell homemade items.
Regardless of council's vote, the Missoula Winter Market will open on Friday, Oct. 26. They'll hold the costume contest that first night, along with trick-or-treating. It will stay open weekends through April.