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Naples businesses say farmers market is hurting their sales

Posted at 6:02 PM, Oct 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-03 19:33:33-04

Some business owners say they're feeling the pinch on Saturday mornings during tourist season, when a popular farmer's market closes Third Street South to traffic. One business owner says that the situation has shoppers competing for parking spaces.

"As soon as they put it on Third Street, we noticed a severe cutback in people coming to the store, and therefore a loss of revenue," said Tim Brick, co-owner of Four Winds Gallery on nearby Thirteenth Avenue South. "It costs me a minimum of $1,000 a week during season."

Brick said that he and over a dozen other downtown businesses have sent a petition to the Naples City Council to keep the farmer's market in the parking lot behind the Tommy Bahama on Third Street, where it is held during the slower summer months.

"I think council is somewhat sympathetic to us," Brick said. "But we're fighting an uphill battle."

Naples Mayor Bill Barnett said that the city has received about 2,000 emails in support of letting the market stay on the street during season. Neapolitan Enterprises, which oversees the market, has applied for a 3-year permit with the city to do just that.

"I don't see any reason...why we shouldn't just give them their permit and let it continue,"  Barnett said. 

The city council will decide the matter at their regular meeting on Wednesday.