Lititz Farmers Market grows…businesses

By on April 6, 2016

Jeremy Sayer, owner of Renewal Kombucha on North Broad Street, is one of several proprietors who have grown from a farmers market stand to a brick-and-mortar location in Lititz.Ever since the Lititz Farmers Market opened for its first season nine years ago, it’s been a go-to spot for baked goods, jams and jellies, sauces, fresh produce, flowers and lots more.

Not only is it the place where folks sell their fresh, home-grown goodies, it’s managed to grow a few businesses and give them new roots here in Lititz. Where vendors might have sold their cupcakes from a truck or sampled kombucha drinks from a market stand, several businesses found that they needed to branch out from the market and open a year-round bricks-and-mortar business in Lititz.

Stephanie Samuels is one of them. Samuels opened her Sugar Whipped Bakery at 77 East Main St. in Lititz, right across from the post office on Second Friday in February. It was the same weekend as the Fire & Ice Festival, and ever since, the shop has been bustling with activity.

Sugar Whipped and Waltz Vineyards have also benefitted from participating in the Lititz Farmers Market.

Sugar Whipped and Waltz Vineyards have also benefitted from participating in the Lititz Farmers Market.

Customers clamor for her pink champagne, raspberry chocolate, salted caramel and chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. There are dozens of taste-tempting flavors, like guava cream cheese, honey lavender and bananas foster. Now that she has a location for year-round customers, she also has a place to do all her baking.

When she first started Sugar Whipped Bakery, she did her baking in church and community kitchens, selling cupcakes and other treats from a mobile truck. That gave her a good start toward determining how to operate her business, how to fill orders and creating more than a few customers who are addicted to her cupcakes.

“The new location is wonderful. I absolutely love being downtown and my shop is what I always envisioned. Everyone has been very warm and welcoming too,” says Samuels. “Our customers are happy we finally have a brick and mortar with normal business hours and that they have the ability to walk in and purchase something.”

Customers with a craving for a Sugar Whipped cupcake don’t have to wait until summer or Saturday. They can just head over to Sugar Whipped Bakery and get immediate gratification.

“Prior to this, we had to take everything via special orders and then arrange a time for pick up,” says Samuels adding that she loves being in her hometown of Lititz, where she grew up.

The Lititz Farmers Market mobile stand helped her build up her clientele and form a good relationship with her customers. After she found the location, she got lots of help from Kelly Withum of Venture Lititz in communicating with the landlord and taking steps to get to where she is now.

Even when the market opens May 21, Samuels hopes to still have a presence at market, serving breakfast items and coffee. Customers will even be able to walk to her bakery for cupcakes, whoopie pies, gluten free baked goods, marshmallows and other treats.

Withum thinks that Lititz Farmers Market has been the perfect springboard for businesses like Sugar Whipped Bakery.

“Stephanie is an amazing business woman. She started out small, going to several farmer markets. She was also our market master for a season. She told me if there ever was a space available she would love to have a brick and mortar shop in Lititz,” recalls Withum, who adds that Sugar Whipped caters to customers with gluten free cupcakes, vegan cupcakes and cupcakes for people with multiple food allergies.

Renewal Kombucha is another new bricks-and-mortar business that got started at Lititz Farmers Market. The market proved to be the perfect place to introduce customers to a product they might never have heard of.

“Everyone asks me what kombucha is,” says owner Jeremy Sayer. “I can tell them, but they really have to taste it.”

Lititz Farmers Market was the ideal venue for sampling the handcrafted, natural, sparkling iced tea beverage that is brewed with organic ingredients and fermented with live probiotic cultures. Without it, few people would have known about Renewal Kombucha’s small-batched brews that have an invigorating fizz in flavors like white tea lemongrass, green tea ginger and cinnamon orange.

Like Samuels, Sayer was hoping to give his business a storefront location, where customers could come year ‘round. He found it inside Wendi’s Cakes and cupcakery at 51 North Broad St., which opened in the fall of 2015.

“Jeremy came to my office in the winter of 2014. He was a young upstart with a great idea and product, who was looking for a location in downtown Lititz,” says Withum. “At that time we did not have any available space, his product was relatively new and not widely known by the general public. I made the suggestion that he become a vendor in the Lititz Farmers Market to test the market, educate the public and develop a client base in the Lititz area.”

Good suggestion! Sayer took on a second market in West Reading for the same purpose. After a successful market season, he had a following and was ready to set up shop in Lititz on North Broad Street, with his business savvy and energy.

Withum is looking forward to giving vendors opportunities to promote their products and maybe even move into their own shops like Samuels and Sayer have. Lititz market will open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, starting May 21 through October 16. The market will again be located in the parking lot on North Water Street, now owned by BB&T Bank, previously Susquehanna Bank.

At this point, Withum has 17 full-time vendors and several part-time. The application process is still open. A few of the returning vendors include Thom’s Bread, Charles Family Farm, Garden Patch, Aunt Mary’s tomato sauce, J.B. Kelly Seafood Connection, Bretta’s Breads (formerly Two Ladies Baking), McCall’s Ferry Farm and Elm Family Flowers.

As for newcomers, Withum has Amaranth Gluten Free Bakery, Stone House Market Garden, Blue Spruce Market, Misty Creek Dairy, Cellar Door Sustainables and Grumpybear Granola on the roster. They also have vendors who will bring ice cream, Asian vegetables, honey and prepared foods.

Any one of them- or several- might just have what it takes to transition into storefront businesses.

Even those that don’t go bricks-and-mortar often manage to Lititz market as a stepping stone. Aunt Mary’s authentic Italian pasta sauce is also sold at at Zest! and Stauffer’s of Kissel Hill. Fresh fruit Rijuice juices started in the Lititz Farmers Market and can now be found at several supermarket in Lancaster County. The same is true for Grandview Granola, with its tasty blended granolas, and Thom’s Breads, which has market stands and a location in Lancaster.

Waltz Vineyards was one of the first market businesses to have a storefront in Lititz. The Waltz Vineyards wine shop has been located at 32 East Main Street since June 2012.

“Kim Waltz approached me about the Lititz Farmers Market several years ago,” says Withum. “Her interest was a bit different. She already had her product and a location for retailing her product. She was interested in a shop in the downtown Lititz, but was uncertain on how her wines would be received.”

Waltz Vineyards was able to do some on-location research by sampling wines at the farmer’s market. Waltz wanted to test Lititz area interest in Waltz wines before she ventured into a brick-and-mortar. As it turned out, the Waltz chardonnays, sauvignon blancs, merlots and cabernets were a big hit.

“Many restaurants in the Lititz area, like the Bulls Head Pub, the Sutter, JoBoy’s and the Log Cabin serve Waltz wines. People like to stop in to sample wines and pick up bottles of wines they enjoyed with dinner,” says Anne Daly, tasting room manager at Waltz Vineyards.

Waltz Vineyards has its winery and tasting room on Old Line Road in Manheim, but having the wine shop helps to reach Lititz customers with that immediate gratification.

“Lititz Farmers Market has launched several successful businesses and led them to open shops in Lititz or sell at area shops. That was the idea begin the market when it first began, to encourage people to shop local,” says Withum. “And it’s working.”

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer. She welcomes reader feedback at lknowles21@gmail.com.

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