Business updates: St. Louis Know Your Market - The Packer

Business updates: St. Louis Know Your Market

08/05/2011 12:16:00 PM
Chuck Robinson

A contract we signed three years ago may have been great then, but we may not need it now,” Schnucks director of procurement services John Scherer said in the release. “If we allow auto-renewals without review, we may get stuck paying for something we don’t need.”

Soulard Market helps with primate rescues
Since 1979 the Missouri Primate Foundation has been helping abandoned and unwanted primates and other animals.

In recent years, vendors at the historic Soulard Market in downtown St. Louis have assisted with the foundations efforts by giving leftover produce to the animal preserve.

The 81 animals at the sanctuary include one chimpanzee that is more than 50 years old, about 40 other primates, a zebra, emu, llama, miniature donkeys, miniature goats, exotic birds, ducks and other creatures that needed a home. Owner-operator connie Casey said the wide variety of produce from the Soulard Market is a tremendous help, even though the bulk of it is donated during summer.

“They’ve been bringing us stuff for about three years now, and it really helps,” Casey said, adding that she has more money to buy fresh produce for the animals during winter months because of the donations during summer.

Scott Schweiger, owner of the fourth-generation produce business Schweiger’s Pride at Soulard Market, is the president of the market’s association and said that sending leftover produce to the sanctuary just seemed like the right thing to do, so the vendors made it happen.
Seasonal vendor fee cap raises concerns

Growers and other vendors at farmers markets in St. Louis County want a limit on county Health Department fees, contending the fees are excessive and inconvenient.

However, supermarket chains in the metro area say capping the fees would give the growers who sell at the farmers markets an unfair competitive edge. The metro area has about 40 farmers markets where vendors and growers are subject to the fees.

Currently the county charges a $75 “seasonal food establishment permit” at each market where a grower sells. Growers who want to offer samples must also pay a $35 for “temporary food establishment permits,” which are good for two weeks.

Two St. Louis area supermarket chains, Schnucks and Dierbergs, have filed comments opposing capping fees with the county Health Department. A Schnucks spokesman said capping the fees would create an uneven playing field. The retailers must follow laws and local codes and don’t believe the growers who sell directly to the public at farmers markets should be exempt from fees or health codes.

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Norma Uible    
St. Louis County  |  August, 08, 2011 at 10:03 AM

There should be an uneven playing field. Schnucks and Dierbergs are not small farmers or growers and do not in any way resemble a grower who sells directly to the public. How dare they want the same treatment. GREED! Shame on Schnucks and Dierbergs.

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