Whether it’s homemade ice cream, a fresh apple pie, or even a custom-written poem, the “New Old-Timey, Feel-Good Farmer’s Market” in Columbia Falls has a bit of everything. .
The brainchild of Columbia Falls businesswoman Jean Flynn, the new market has room for 22 vendors and has so far in its first year of operation featured a vendor who will sharpen your knives, a woman who does clothing alterations, someone who sells intricate hand knit items and so much more.
“I just felt like people wanted something a little more nostalgic and old-world,” Flynn said of the new market. “We have a very special collection of vendors that I think really make this market look both classic and unique.”
Flynn grew up on a farm outside Chester near Sweet Grass Hills and owned her own restaurant at 27 before finding a new career in Hollywood, where she worked on 17 different films and was part of a film crew. design that won a primetime Emmy.
After 32 years on the West Coast, Flynn returned to Montana 14 years ago and now owns her own studio on Sixth Street West in the old union hall across from City Hall.
Despite her success, Flynn continued to cultivate a love of baking, a skill she learned from her mother at an early age.
It was outside his workshop, while selling his delicious pies one afternoon, that the idea for the new market came to him.
“I was out there selling my pies by myself and just wanted some company,” she laughed. “I thought the street in front of my store was so quiet it would make a great spot for a little farmers market.”
And so, she did.
After getting the green light from the city, Flynn began looking for vendors who matched her idea of the market and the feeling she wanted to establish there.
“I met a lot of people over the winter who were preparing for this and we were just spending time talking about the vibe I wanted to create. I wanted a friendly vibe where we would all be ready to help each other. I think that we really captured that spirit,” she said. “My philosophy is that you should run your business in a spirit of friendliness, generosity, and love. If you do that, that money will follow. If you only care about making money, then nothing good will happen.
In addition to salespeople, Flynn also began scouting for musical performers for his new venture, from fiddlers to world-renowned yodeler and singer Wylie Gustafson.
“I wanted a place where people could come and listen to acoustic music, which I think was very important to the vibe that customers get in our market,” Flynn remarked.
As the first season of the new market draws to a close, Flynn is thrilled with how the first year has gone and is excited for the prospect of more seasons to come.
“It’s about having a gathering place for the community that is low-key and fun. We only have two rules: nothing made in China and no politics allowed. We wanted people to be able to just hang out and relax and I think we accomplished that.
The market continues Sunday in front of Columbia Falls City Hall from 9 a.m. to noon until 9/11.