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Thieves target North Suffolk farmer’s market

Business owners in North Suffolk have tried to bring the city’s agriculture base to an area largely dominated by industrial growth, but a thief is trying to thwart their efforts.

At least eight signs advertising the Governor’s Pointe Farmer’s Market have been stolen from their locations between Route 258 and Bennett’s Creek along Route 17, leaving organizers disheartened and requiring time-intensive solutions to the problem of advertising the event.

“It’s beyond us why someone would steal our signs,” Bon Vivant owner and market organizer Brenda Gillihan said. “It’s been a challenge for us. The price our vendors pay only covers our advertising, tent rentals, insurance — the out-of-pocket expenses of the market.”

Gillihan estimated the signs cost about $150, but it’s the fact that anyone would be trying to hurt the event and the vendors that bothers her the most.

“It’s a shame when something is doing successful that people are so unsupportive of it,” Gillihan said.

Last year, Gillihan said, she and the other organizers at Katody’s and A Tisket, A Tasket received a phone call from anonymous individual who was displeased with the signage on the sides of the roads and in the medians, but the farmer’s market signs were the only ones removed.

“There were still other signs out there, so we know it wasn’t a VDOT issue,” Gillihan said. “We try to do a good job not cluttering things with our signs. We each put out our signs on a Thursday as a reminder the market was on Friday and tried to pick them up Friday evening or Saturday morning.”

To make up for the lost advertising, Gillihan and her partners in the event spent hours canvassing neighborhoods with flyers.

“We’re just trying to get the word out and let people know we’re out here,” Gillihan said.

Why someone would wish ill on the budding farmer’s market is beyond her imagination.

“It’s interesting,” Gillihan said. “We’re doing very well. We did so well last year that we went from just having it in July to having it June, July and August this year. We have about 300 people come out.”

The 5:30-8 p.m. Friday market features vendors who offer local breads, meats, seafood, produce and arts.

“We really are just trying to help stimulate local businesses,” Gillihan said. “Its an opportunity for people to come get fresh produce and see what the community offers.”