IT'S NOT EASY GROWING YOUR BUSINESS ~ WE THINK F&E CAN HELP
from permitting to insurance, taxes to promotions - we make selling online and at farmers' markets easy.
Not so easy times, mean we need all the ease we can get. We like to think our markets help you to the next place. We aim to make growing your business easier. Why? Because we believe in the entrepreneur, the little gal/guy and the dandy dream. We really like good food, too.Being an entrepreneur takes real work and you wear many hats. We created F&E to streamline the onerous applications and registrations seen with other markets. With a single membership, you receive access to our online store and dozens of market dates, in multiple locations and tens of thousands of customers.
We host upwards of 400 farmers, food makers, artisans and food trucks a year at markets, both in person and online, throughout the Twin Cities. And F&E communicates with well over 1,000 prospective vendors each year. This is a lot of people, and although we aim to give you all the attention we can - this can be tough. That means that the below resources and information come in handy when imagining and planning for your dandy food dream.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MEMBERSHIP
POLICIES, PROCEDURES & LOGISTICS
What is F&E?
We created F&E to support farmers, food producer and food trucks in making more money. We also take on businesses, musicians and nonprofits that see spending time with our customers, at our markets, as a terrific way to support community and our dynamic food scene. We do this is through creating farmers markets, pop-up markets and online markets. F&E is contracted through the Linden Hills Farmers' Market Board of Directors and its 501c3 organization to manage its market, and that of Plate & Parcel Holiday Market.
What type of vendors are F&E Members?
Farmers, food makers, food trucks, artisans and makers (registration is exclusive to some markets), cottage food producers and Department of Agriculture wholesale producers. If you are doing something cool as an entrepreneur, you are our kind of people!
When should vendors become members and register? Do I sell what you want? We are always bringing on new vendors. There is no one time to start a business or to start selling, and truly the best way for us to know if you are a good fit - is for you to become a member.
Please note, we have opportunities for chefs to conduct demos, restaurants to sample, pop-ups at taprooms and elsewhere; plus we regularly get asked about catering. Business sponsors and nonprofit community groups are welcome to spend time with our managed markets, too. Put yourself on our radar and we will talk you up! To make this easy, and to streamline how you get involved in markets- we created a quick and easy process via our F&E Vendor Membership.
What's up with the membership? Why is this required? Why do we pay a membership fee?
In addition, to helping us get to know you, your business and your point of view; we believe in covering our legal requirements and liabilities in advance of your participation with us. The fee is because we find it helps us understand that you "mean business." Plus, we use these dollars to pay for the insurance for our online store, and the markets and events; this protects you even more. Also, F&E offers educational workshops, networking and other professional opportunities throughout the year. The membership fee helps offset these costs.
Can I become a member if I don't have my >> insert any of the following here << State of Minnesota cottage food certificate, City of Minneapolis farmers' market permit, MN ST19 form, and/or insurance certificate?
Yes, indeed you can. Businesses can now become a member and register in advance of receiving their permits and insurance forms. This allows you to get registered more rapidly. All vendors are required to submit this information prior to selling at our markets and we've created this quick form to upload these documents here >>
Also, businesses are now allowed to submit their insurance, permits and ST19 forms after they've become members. We've heard concerns from prospective vendors about the costs associated with securing insurance prior to knowing if they are "in" and with this change we address this. In other words, although businesses are still required to have insurance to participate in our markets and to sell online they can now become members and get registered before purchasing a policy.
Why do I need insurance? Where do I get insurance?
This is really, really important stuff. Insurance helps protect you in situations where an accident occurs during the course of your sale day, while delivering or in a truly unfortunate situation where your foods make someone sick. Personal and business liability insurance for your food business can be had through your current insurance carrier (think: auto, renters or home), or through the FLIP Insurance Program.
I know this thing seems weird, especially for those of you used to selling foods. In MN we don't tax most foods, but some we do and in this case, the vendor is required to pay sales tax to the State. This form will talk you through this. Remember, that there are certain geographic regions, like the Downtown Improvement District, that has a specialized sales tax. And yes, the State comes a-calling for these forms from time to time. With that, I am legally required to have these on file at all times. You are legally required to compile with them, however. That is all you. This table is helpful in determining how this form applies to you.
Do I need to have a permit to sell food at your markets? If so, what permits do I need?
In general, the most common type of permit for our market vendors is called the "Seasonal Mobile Food Vendor Permit" and it is from the City of Minneapolis. This documentwalks you through how to apply.
You'll want to become an F&E Member. This covers your legal, insurance and tax requirements - and truly protects you above all. Please note, we can only have you sell after you've submitted a copy of your permit, ST 19 and insurance certificate. If you've already submitted your membership form, please use this document to upload your documents.
Be aware of any state or local requirements allowing or disallowing your type of distribution. For instance, cottage food makers can only offer pick up or doorstep delivery of their products. Shipping is not allowed.
In this day and time of coronavirus, you will need to guarantee your foods adhere to the strictest standards of operation. A necessary resource >>Please note, new information is becoming available all the time. Stay abreast of current guidelines here >>
Prepare your product descriptions, take excellent photos and determine a delivery or shipping schedule. Go to our market site to learn more and start posting >>
For lots more info, check out our best practices and resource page >>
What then? As we learn the ins-and-outs of our new online retail platform, along with customizing content, we anticipate being able to provide more tips, techniques and policies to guide sellers. Based on our experience in managing wholesale online platforms and working with farmers, we have a few recommendations going forward >>
IN-PERSON MARKET FAQS
COVID-19 & IN-PERSON MARKETS
How will coronavirus impact in-person markets?
We are paying careful attention to the CDC, and state/local governments. We are also taking part in webinars and info sessions from the Minnesota Farmers' Market Association, among others. Luckily, the MN Governor has allowed farmers' markets to operate during the "Stay at Home" decree, and we hope to develop protocol for social distancing that protects vendors, management and customers. No doubt, we anticipate our online store will become vitally important to any pick-up markets we manage.
What happens if the markets have to be cancelled?
All attempts will be made to reschedule market dates to later in 2020. Stall fees will be honored at the time of rescheduling.
IN PERSON MARKET REGISTRATION
I've submitted my membership form. How do I sell at your in-person markets?
Once you've submitted our membership form you are welcome to:
register for our in-person markets. Our registrations are inventory operated, and will close dates once they are filled. That means, if you can see dates available on the registration form, then that date is yours. Please note, some of our markets are invite only and the registration pages will indicate this. Should you want to be considered for an invite-only market, email email@example.com.
become a seller at frankandernestmarkets.com, and then upload products. Please note, we can only have you sell after you've submitted a copy of your permit, ST 19 and insurance certificate. If you've already submitted your membership form, please use this document to upload your documents.
How does registration work for your in-person markets? What happens after I register and pay?
If you are at the registration stage for any market or event - then you've already become a member. Registration is pretty simple once you've been approved. Our registration pages collect business name, contact info of primary seller, a quick sign off for any liabilities and payment of your stall fee. Without payment, your registration will not be accepted. We understand that a full season payment can add up quickly. If this is a challenge to you in your business, please contact us - we may be able to work something out.
Where do I learn about setting up, and other day-of logistics?
First, be sure to note your dates on your calendar. You'd be surprised how many folks forget to do this, and then miss out on sales opportunities when the date flies past them. Secondly, unless you hear from us, you can consider yourself registered for this event/market. Please note, lots and lot of logistics info is available on the registration page for the market you are planning to attend. We also have market logistics available under the FAQs tab. This information is typically available within a week of the series start day. In some situations, but not all, reminders may be sent via email, but logistics will always be posted online at the F&E website.
TENTS & SUPPLIES
What supplies do I need to vend?
We require you come prepared with everything you need to vend. This includes, a hand washing station (if sampling), weights, your own tent/tables, commercial extension cords with at least 100 feet, chairs, signage, etc. You also must be prepared to park in our designated vendor parking areas. The logistics pages include this information.
What type of tent do you require, when tents are required?
All tents should be 10' x 10' in size. This is an example of the type of tents that are commonly used. Vendors provide their own tents and weights. No tent can be used that is not properly weighted. Here is a good example of types of tents available.
Are tent weights required? YES. YES. Here is one type that is available. Businesses cannot set up and sell without tent weights. You will be asked to vacate the market premises if you do not have these on your tent at all times.
Do we have access to Wifi? Wifi is not typically available. We encourage you to make use of your cell service. Xfinity subscribers may be able to log on to the Xfinity mobile network for wifi.
Do we need to accept credit cards? Yes, it is heavily encouraged. We know from research and experience that customers purchase more when the vendor accepts credit cards. There are several companies that have services to help you accept credit cards. SQUARE Card Reader is the most commonly used. PayPal is another.
Do vendors have access to electricity?
Yes, vendors often have access to electricity. There may be an additional cost depending on the market that you are registering for. Your responsibility is to bring a 100-foot COMMERCIAL quality, outdoor extension cord to every event/market we host. We ask that you tape down your own cord with duct tape, especially those that cross public/pedestrian pathways. In some situations, vendors will be asked to provide their own generator.
HYGIENE & SAFETY
If I sample foods, raw ingredients and/or make a ready-to-eat products do I need a hand-washing station?
Unfortunately, we do not reimburse for dates paid, and are unable to swap dates. If you need to cancel, please email and let her know. This allows waitlisted vendors a chance to register. If you'd like to register for additional dates you can do that through the individual market registration pages.
What happens when I arrive at the market site?
Our markets are changing up the way we situate our vendors. This may be unlike how you've been organized into a marketplace before. Often vendor location will be assigned by our managers first come, first serve upon arrival. When you arrive on site - you will be shown to your location. Be sure to listen to our staff, and park your car and unload where directed - it's that simple. Check the market registration page or the FAQs page for more info.
Why we do organize vendors into stalls in a first-come, first-situated way?
Our markets change up their vendor compilation by upwards of 60% from week to week. Instead of spending our time creating and communicating maps - our goal is to take those hours (and they add up) to direct that time at marketing. Promoting you and our events is job one.
When no-shows and vendor cancellations happen, we can fill in those stalls. In our hefty experience, an empty stalls means missing energy and that affects customers. We prefer to keep those stalls full and our first-come, first-situated policy does just this.
Further, so many of our market locations are hosted in dense urban neighborhoods that may prove a challenge. When we organize vendors as they arrive we can more uniformly and efficiently move vehicles through tight spaces.
What if I register for the entire season or series of markets?
Then we will do our darnedest to get you in the same stall from day to day, week to week. Getting you comfortable and helping your customers find you are really important to us. Please note, stall locations may change due to programming or other situational changes, and this is at the discretion of the manager.
Can I share a stall?
With our market model we encourage lots of cross promotion and creativity in merchandising. With that, we will often allow vendors to share their space and sell collaboratively. Couple things with this. Vendors will need to apply separately and carry their own permits and insurance. Also, vendors must pay their stall fees separately. Please note, vendors will want to request a corner stall, and that means the manager needs to be informed of this request.
What if I've signed up for a market/event, but have never sold here?
Our FAQs tab includes all the info you need to set up and sell. Simply click on the market you've registered for. This includes load in/load out times times, parking, map of the location, promotional graphics and much more. Further, at the point of registration - lots of information is provided; such as estimated attendance, vendor compilation, requirements for merchandising and other pertinent information. Logistics info is made available and/or updated online a week before, or thereabouts, the market's start date.
Do I have to attend the market every time it happens? Our market model allows for lots of flexibility. In fact, we discourage vendors from attending each and every market. Plus, who doesn't need a day off? Instead, we like that our vendor compliation changes up from week to week. It's simple - our market registrations allow you to pick and choose your dates of attendance.
Will I be the only vendor selling a particular product, e.g. will I have the market cornered and all to myself?
Nope. We aim to create a dynamic, ever changing and competitive marketplace. You'll often hear our market manager say, "we create a market, not a monoply."
What does that mean?
We may have 3 salsa vendors, 2 switchel vendors and 3 cottage food producers baking bagels. We believe in offering our customers a diversity of product and brands, much like a grocery store. Instead we encourage vendors to use their 100-square feet (10' x 10') of space to best showcase their products. In fact, in no other situation will you have this much space in a retail environment. Brand your space, think trade-show booth, home & garden show and boutique grocery store display. Use Pinterest as your muse. It's your job to tell our customers why you are different from the other gal/guy. Bring the fun! Be generous with samples, hone your sales skills and tell your story - a pop-up market is the best locale to be an entrepreneur. Go to town...ahem, market! This also changes how we accept vendors. Our curation is based on quality of product, and if you've got a strong point of view - interesting to our customers, they'll let you know and ask you to come back. Simple as all that.
How many customers does your market see each week?
This can vary greatly from market to market, neighborhood to neighborhood and venue to venue. On our registration pages - we post our anticipated audience. Weather and other situations not withstanding.
COST TO VEND
How much does it cost to vend each time?
This may depend on what you sell and the market. For more information on stall fees for each market, please go to that market's registration page.
Do you reimburse stall fees when a market is cancelled?
Unfortunately, we don't reimburse stall fees in most cases, including; but not limited to weather-related occurrences and/or in situations whereby the safety of citizens and/or vendors is challenged with the continuation of a scheduled market or event.
ARTISANS, BUSINESS SPONSORS, MUSICIANS, AND NONPROFITS
I'm a musician - can I play at your market? Of course. Please email to learn more.
I don't sell food, instead I sell arts & craft wares and/or vintage items. Can I apply?
In some situations, and for some markets we accept artisan vendors. If you are interested in selling at either the Linden Hills Farmers' Market or Plate & Parcel Holiday Market, you will apply and register via Minneapolis Craft Market. MCM is a company similar to F&E, curates our arts & crafts vendors for many of our markets. Please reach out to them.
I'm a nonprofit community organization - can I request a stall? Yes, indeed. We ask that you first become an F&E member and then register just like any other vendor. We have reduced stall fees at some of our markets for nonprofits.
I'm interested in sponsoring - can I get involved at your market? Yes, indeed. We ask that you first become an F&E member to cover our joint legal and insurance requirements, and then you can register just like any other vendor - should you want to set up and promote your business like any others at our markets. If you'd like another arrangement, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
VENDOR SOCIAL MEDIA & PROMOTIONS
We require that all our vendors use social media. Why do we ask for this? We all need to chip in to tell our story. The more we do this, the more times our story is told. The more eyes on the prize, the more feet in our marketplace. If you don't promote yourself, your products, your participation in our market - we are unable to support your time at our market. I'm sorry, but to keep our costs low - to reduce the amount of paid promotions we all need to pitch in. Plus, you'll sell more.
How will I be alerted to new opportunities as an approved F&E Vendor?
We have a few ways we talk at you. Our vendor newsletter is one way, the other is through our Facebook Group Page.
Got other questions? Have you done your homework & need different answers? Please let us know by emailing email@example.com.