Concerns over new location of La Mesa Farmers Market

Posted at 6:35 PM, May 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-02 08:26:21-04

LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV)- Some local businesses in La Mesa are angry over the new location of the city's Farmers Market.  Some restaurants fear it will eat into their business.  

The new La Mesa Farmers Market will shut down La Mesa Boulevard from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m.

"It kills my lunch hour and it kills my dinner hour and I just can't risk it," said Restaurant Owner Johnny Bedlion.  

He owns Johnny B's, a popular bar and restaurant that's been around for almost two decades.  
Friday is his busiest time of the week.

"I could lose 30 percent, and I hope I'm wrong."

Closing the street to cars will limit spots in an area already pressed for parking.  Bedlion worries that could scare off his usual Friday night customers.

"If you work 20 years to build a lunch and dinner business, it's scary to think it might go away."

The La Mesa City council voted 4-1 in favor of moving the market's location from the Civic Center parking lot to this two-block stretch along La Mesa Boulevard from Palm Avenue to 4th street.
The city manager says Friday was really the only option.

 "The farmers are already locked into other days of the week in other locations," said La Mesa City Manager Yvonne Garrett.

So, they're considering this a test run.

"We're going to try it for 6 months and see how it goes," Garrett said.

The La Mesa Village Association has been trying to revitalize the downtown area to attract new businesses and more people. 

"They are going to have a shuttle that will run between the location of the market and the public municipal parking lots," Garrett added.

"I'm very excited," said Kasandra Marzec, who helps her mom run Sara's Selections Boutique in the village.

"It just brings in people, who love to support local, to a strip where there's a bunch of local businesses," Marzec said. 

The new market is expected to have twice the number of vendors.

"I don't think the association either is interested in it not being successful," Garrett said.  "We want it to be good for everybody."