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Ghent Farmers Market makes comeback at crucial time for small business owners

A local favorite returned to the Ghent neighborhood of Norfolk. Shoppers and business owners got together for the seasonal kickoff of the farmer's market.

NORFOLK, Va. — While ushering in a new month, Norfolk welcomed the Ghent Farmers Market's second season. 

“We had one way in and one way out last year, so the significance is everybody can walk around freely today," said Lori Golding Zontini, executive director of Ghent Farmers Market.

"It's great to see everybody smiling and enjoying the marketplace," said Jennifer Scott, a music teacher at Blair Middle School, who decided to stop by the market Friday afternoon. It is located on school grounds. 

People, and even some pups, visited dozens of booths with artisan goods, food, flowers and more.

"We have all the ones with crystals. We have ones with flowers," said Norfolk Candle CEO Brandon Brinkley, who was excited to be back at the market.

“I love it. It feels great, reconnecting with everyone and seeing the community. The farmers market has really brought a lot of people back together.”

Though windy, the otherwise gorgeous weather helped draw a crowd out as well.

Some of the vendors told 13News Now why it's so important, now more than ever, to shop local and support small businesses.

"Farmers markets are really important for us," said Paige Welch, owner of Empowered Plant Cakes. She said that small businesses have had to face so many hurdles lately.

"I know personally we've been facing issues with just getting some of our products in and then, also prices increasing, minimum wage and stuff going up," Welch said. 

"Fertilizer is two times more normally for a farmer. Obviously, the gas prices have gone up, they need to be able to use the equipment to farm, all the prices for glassware, sauces to be made," said Golding Zontini. 

"So, all of our costs have gone up. We appreciate the support of everybody coming out," Welch added.

And by everybody coming out, Golding Zontini said they support the larger community too. "It supports Colley Avenue. If you feel like going to a movie afterwards, go to a restaurant, support everyone. So, am I happy? I’m ecstatic.”

You can find the Ghent Farmers Market at Blair Middle School from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every first and third Friday, April until September. 

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