Apparently, there isn’t always money in the banana stand.
After more than five years of selling produce and organic items next to city hall, the Wilton Manors Green Market is no longer in operation. The co-owner, Naffiza Parbhoo, announced the closure on Facebook.
“I am very sorry to say that Wilton Manors Green Market will be closed permanently ... sorry for the inconvenience of all our faithful customers that have been with us for the past five and a half years. Thank you all for your faithful following and support throughout the years.” In an interview with The Gazette, she said she will concentrate on running her green market in Tamarac.
In Wilton Manors, she had switched from two days a week to one day but said that still wasn’t justified by the limited number of customers who showed up. She cited increasing competition as the main reason for shutting down.
When she first opened in Wilton Manors, she faced very little local competition. A lot of her customers were from outside the city and had to come here because their cities did not have green markets. But with Oakland Park, the Whole Foods in Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, and other nearby green markets popping up, she said green markets are now “a dime a dozen” and competition is tough.
“Sales kept dropping and dropping. It just wasn’t enough.”
According to a 2014 SFGN article, the Wilton Manors Green Market was founded by Franki Altieri and Ron Leonard because another green market failed due to lack of sales. Parbhoo took it over from them. “They were two guys who lived in the community and encouraged people who made stuff themselves,” said Parbhoo in 2014. “They wanted to support local people.”
Resident Kimber White said the loss of the green market is a sign that the quality of life in Wilton Manors needs to be improved. “We have coined a phrase ‘Life’s Just Better Here.’ It takes a lot more than a tag line it takes actions behind words. I love our city but we just need to stop relying on our so-called gay Mecca status.”
Patrick Caan, Leisure Services Department director, said his office is working on bringing another green market into the city.