Ann Arbor is an undeniably great place for local produce — for part of the year. The demand for local foods, however, doesn't go away in the winter, and thanks to the rise of local hoop houses, it doesn't have to. Kathy Sample, her husband Bill Brinkerhoff and their business partner Scott Fleck are aiming to help local growers extend their growing season with Argus Farm Stop,
an indoor farmers market coming to W. Liberty this year.
"The Farmers Market is fantastic, but there is a waiting list to get in," says Sample. "And what happens when it rains and no customer show up? We thought, there's a mismatch here."
After encountering an indoor farmers market in Ohio, Sample and Brinkerhoff met with the owners, as well as local growers and the Ann Arbor Farmers Market to see what could be done to expand the availability of local food here. When they found no one else was on the job, they put themselves on it.
Argus Farm Stop will be located in a 1,300 square foot former gas station on W. Liberty that is now under construction. Sample hopes to open in August with new bathrooms, an espresso bar and a wide array of produce, meats and other local foods.
"Michigan is the second most diverse state in terms of agricultural products," Sample says. "Somehow things have changed over the years. We want to build that back up."
Argus Farm Stop is operating as a Low-Proit Limited Liability Company, an option which will help the company maintain funding as they pursue their social goals of extending the growing season and giving new opportunities to local growers. Sample also plans to include education opportunities for kids and families in their business model. A staff of approximately six employees will operate Argus Farm Stop, along with the business partners.
Source: Kathy Sample, Argus Farm Stop
Writer: Natalie Burg