The words "farmers market" usually conjure up images of leisurely weekend strolls, latte in hand, with the smell of flowers in the air.
But if one entrepreneur has her way, some folks will be fitting the proverbial stop to smell the roses into their workdays.
Jennifer McColm is launching a farmers market amid the concrete and glass of Warner Center in Woodland Hills, and she's scheduling it just in time to accommodate the area's lunchtime crowd. The Warner Center Farmers' Market at the Promenade, opened June 2 in the Promenade mall's parking lot at Irwin Avenue and Topanga Canyon Boulevard.
McColm, who operates a more traditional, weekend farmers market in Westlake Village, decided to take the idea to working folks after several of the farmers with whom she works suggested it.
"There's a market in the downtown L.A. area that focuses on the downtown business crowd, and it's packed," she said. "A few of the vendors said I should try to find a place that has a lot of office buildings."
Warner Center, with an estimated 35,000 employees, provided just such a locale.
"I would think there might be interesting opportunities for that (market)," said Brad Rosenheim, a consultant to the Warner Center Association, a group representing area employers. He predicts the offering will be a hit with landlords looking to get an edge in providing amenities to tenants and their employees.
It will cost McColm about $5,000 to start the market, and a portion of the proceeds will go to Westfield America Inc., owner of the Promenade. Company officials are hoping the market will help keep interest in the center alive while it goes through a renovation slated to transform the poorly performing mall into an entertainment destination, said Katy Dickey, Westfield's vice president of corporate communications.
A planned community, Warner Center is chockablock with restaurants, but McColm is hoping that many people who work in the area will want to frequent the market for a change of pace.
"I'm going to feature a lot of lunch items," McColm said. "What I'm hoping is that people will find value in being able to be exposed to fresh produce, and sit down and have their lunch."
Although there will be the traditional fruits and vegetables found in most farmers markets, McColm is staffing this one with stands that offer salads, tamales, hot dogs, roasted nuts and popcorn, as well as a vendor with corn on the cob, roasted right on the spot.
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