Mason City Farmers Market Study and Marketing

Academic Year 
2016-2017
College/Department 
John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center - Entrepreneurial Management Institute
Project Partner 

Overview

In a report to the City of Mason City and North Iowa Farmers’ Market Board of Directors, students in the Entrepreneurial Management Institute: Business Consulting class provided recommendations for a permanent location for a community farmers market based on preferred characteristics and potential sites.

Mason City’s community farmers market was recently displaced from a highly visible location; the replacement site lacks visibility, although it is located along a high traffic corridor.  Consequently, sales have decreased at the market. Some producers have left the market and established their own pop-up sites along heavily traveled streets

The City lacks primary data and market research to make decisions about the future of the farmers market. Students explored the necessary steps to achieving a healthy and profitable metropolitan farmers market, which City officials anticipate will support broad efforts to enhance the quality of life in the community, promote sustainability, and encourage agricultural entrepreneurialism and small business.

The student consulting team conducted research and made recommendations on best practices of metropolitan farmers’ markets, including facilities recommendations supporting a vibrant year round farmers’ market in Mason City, and conducted market research among current and former vendors and producers, and consumers, on their expectations, preferences and perceptions of the farmers’ market, including alternative locations in the Mason City metro area.