TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?

As we grow into our third year of the Front Porch Farm Stand, we would like to thank our loyal customers who have supported us over the years.  Thank you!

It was a novel concept to transform our front porch into a farmstand (after almost 20 years selling to local restaurants) and during the first few years we enjoyed the hey day of the local food movement. Now, however,  I noticed that the novelty is wearing off, especially now that the local food market has become saturated.  I’m not sure whether I am happy or sad about that.  I mean, there are  more local food/market choices than when we started; but, then, that means the customer base is being pulled out and, for small businesses, a loss of one or two regular clients is felt.   In such a small community, over a dozen new market opportunities give customers the choice and convenience of shopping for locally grown and artisanal foods.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m excited about seeing all the new food opportunities; but, in the long run, I am wary that this will mean the shuttering of shops or old timers no longer in vogue with the latest food fad, businesses that have been around a long time gone  as customers search for the thrill of the “new” or “hippest.”

When can a community become too overly saturated?  Water is good; but you can water a plant too much and it dies.

It makes me appreciate the customers who have continued to support the front porch farmstand through thick and thin.  Also makes me appreciate those who have been in business years/decades  and to understand better  the dedication they have.

I also wonder: do we really need to rely on gimmicks to bring in new customers?  No bells or whistles to entice, and  that’s what’s really NOVEL.  The novelty of being simple and the same.

I am one for looking for better and new things; but, in the end, sometimes one can have too many balls in the air and end up “struggling with juggling.”

What do you think?

Comments(11)

  1. c says:

    A quality product at a fair price never goes out of style.
    Businesses that focus on the latest fad are constantly chasing their own tails and will eventually exhaust themselves and fail.
    Boring as it sounds, solid business practices, good advertising and a quality product at a fair price is what tends to keep people in business for the long haul. Fancy or simple, be true to yourselves and the business will reflect that.

  2. Glenda says:

    People over the age of 50 want the personal touch in business. We are in our mid-60’s and customer service practices today appall us. What you offer is unique; you offer yourselves, your expertise, and the relationship of caring personally about your customers. Small family businesses offer personal interaction and a personal relationship with their customers which chain stores and “fly by night” groups can’t and don’t care to offer.

    I think people can get too busy, too many irons in the fire, and everything suffers a little. Too many balls in the air and soon some start to drop. People don’t want gimmicks or something new all the time, the people we know want consistency, simplicity, and integrity. Offer quality and good character, along with caring and God will take care of the rest.

    Your website has helped so many of us learn and encouraged us to replace our grass with “small farmettes,” while living in the middle of town. Thank you for your blog. I look forward to each new post.

    Many blessings on your and your family.

    • Glenda says:

      Should have been “many blessings on you and your family.” Sorry for the typo.

  3. Nebraska Dave says:

    Anais, Hmmmmm, are you considering closing of the front porch stand? If it has become a burden and stops being a fun exciting thing, it becomes a drudgery to do. It appears to me that your family has transitioned into a different area to draw people to your yard that requires more of your time. Quite frankly I miss the posts about what’s going on in the garden and how to take care of animals at the homestead in the city. I understand that life never stands still but is always changing. Only you and your family can tell if its time to cut back on requirements of your time and be able to tell which ones to cut back. Good luck with your season of re evaluation.

    Have a great California fall garden day.

    • Anais Dervaes says:

      Good question, there are a lot of factors to deal with. There are now over 1/2 dozen farmers market in the Pasadena area. Markets are popping up everywhere these days. Kinda “saturated” if you ask me

  4. Mary says:

    You and your family are the ones that inspired me to start my small backyard garden by reading your blogs on the happenings on your homestead. I’ve had some successes and failures but keep trudging along. I’ve been following your blog for the last seven years and find inspiration each time I visit. Thank You from New Mexico

  5. Carol says:

    I have missed your blogs. I truly think you can have too many irons in the fire. You used to inspire me with all the blogs about what you were growing – how they were growing – what they grew on or in – the weather. You guys have been so busy with everything else, and I understand why, but I feel the people who are not in your area have suffered from absence makes the heart grow fonder. You guys are a huge success in whatever you endeavor to do. I for one just miss you.

  6. Sakina Nush says:

    It seems like the kind of people that like to farm are not always equally suited to the business end of marketing food. Homesteading used to be just that, something done to sustain the home. As a farmer I have to do business with the public to earn a profit and this is really different then gardening for my soul. This year padron peppers were popular and so next year I will grow more of them. Is that shallow? Following a fad? Or giving the customer what they want, which is the core of doing business? (Fortunately I like to eat them too!) It is challenging for me as an introvert to be a business person because I really just want to be in the garden. If I had to to deal with public everyday I would become exhausted. But I am inspired by some of the successful business people in my community who find marketing goods as interesting and exciting as growing cabbages and I am striving to be more business minded. If having a storefront/farmstand right where you live and having the public at your home all the time is stressful then maybe reconsider that. I wish you the best in everything.

  7. Jackie of all Trades SpoolTeacher says:

    You all are the novelist thing Ms. SpoolTeacher’s ever seen. Classic novel. Classic never goes out of fashion. People get bored easily and return to what is comfortable and “home”, returning to their roots. You will probably see new business trends that will make you stand out as time progresses. You are so unique in that you did it right out of a home, right in the heart of a famous city with just a family and were so far ahead of the “learning curve”. Ms. SpoolTeacher’s goal is to get back to CA someday soon and book a night or class with you. Can’t wait.

  8. Bruce Mitchell says:

    I think I’d like to find out where your front porch farm stand is located and what the hours of business are! 🙂

  9. eddie sanders says:

    I agree with Glenda, personal service and a friendly smile with a good product will always make the difference.. You seem to have a following so i would not worry too much.

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