By Lisa Carolin
Chelsea is a just a few months away from being able to claim an indoor year-round farmers market that sells fresh, local produce and much more.
Agricole, which is under construction on the first level of the Mack Building, located at the corner of Main Street and Jackson Street, could be ready to open as soon as mid-June.
Joe Ziolkowski and wife Abby Hurst are developing the building, and using Argus Farm Stop in Ann Arbor as a model.
“We want more food access in Chelsea,” said Hurst, who says Agricole will be about 1,600 square feet. “The front of the building will be community space.”
About 300 square feet of the market will be used by Stone House Oven, a company that bakes custom designed shortbreads. Hurst and her colleagues are in the process of trying to find the right business to take over 500 square feet of the market to sell prepared foods.
There is also a section for fresh produce and a section that will offer refrigeration for meats, dairy, eggs, and more.
So far, there are 38 vendors who will be supplying Agricole with fresh foods. Hurst says that most of them are located in a 15-mile radius of Chelsea.
“Farmers will choose their own prices, and we’ll have a 75 (for the farmer)/25 (for the owner) split,” said Hurst. “Our intention is to be a hands-off pass through, and for the farmers to make the choices.”
The managing members of Agricole include Hurst, Kathy Kennedy, Sharon Norton, and Patrick Zieske. They invested $80,000 of equity and raised another $100,000 in the community. Thanks to a Patronicity crowdfunding campaign that raised $50,000 by an April 7 deadline, a matching grant was made possible by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Public Spaces Community Places program. That leaves $30,000 left to raise.
Agricole is a low profit liability company (L3C), which means social benefit comes before profit.
“Our goal is that when you shop at Agricole, you get what you need to make dinner,” said Hurst. “We will also have a café that sells coffee, breads, pastries and more.”
There will be seating in front of glass doors where customers will have a view of the Clock Tower, Jiffy Mix, and the Chelsea Depot.
The plan is for Agricole to opened seven days a week from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. year-round.
“We’re hoping to attract customers from Jackson, Stockbridge, Grass Lake, Manchester, and a hard-core group of locals,” said Hurst. “It will be a place to hang out, a community-connector.”
Check out Agricole’s website to learn more including an opening date, and to access vendor applications and learn about job opportunities: https://www.agricolefarmstop.com.