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Boone Street Market eyes future growth



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Boone Street Market may be getting bigger.

After two successful years as Jonesborough downtown fresh and local food source, representatives of Jonesborough Locally Grown, the non-profit umbrella organization that oversees the market, has asked the town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday night to put their stamp of approval on an expansion.

“Boone Street Market has been a success, but it is not 100 percent self-sufficient yet,” said Jonesborough Locally Grown’s executive director Karen Childress, as she explained to the board the need for the expansion.

While fundraisers and other revenue generators have continued to help cover the cost of the market’s operation, she said, the market’s overall plan has always been for sales revenue to completely provide for expenses.

“We think the potential is there if we can carry more products,” Childress said. “It’s a volume game.”

Through the expansion, the market would be able to add more cooler and display space, as well as increase seating capacity for any type of food service. Childress and other Locally Grown representatives have already worked with C.W. Parker of Ken Ross Architects to develop a conceptual schematic and ensure that storm drains and sewer connections are accounted for.

As for funding the expansion, Childress said they had already approached the Tennessee Department of Agriculture who has agreed to assist with the cost of the expansion.

“They have indicated an interest so we are moving forward,” Childress said.

At this early stage, cost estimates for the project range from $59,542 to $76,242 depending on the type of design selected. The Department of Agriculture has indicated a possible contribution of $50,000. Childress said they would work to raise the other money through fundraisers and other activities.

Though no promise of funding by the Town was included in Monday night’s request, as owners of the building the Town still needed to sign off on the project, which it did unanimously, 3 to 0, with Alderman David Sell not in attendance for the May 8 meeting.

“I am more than in favor of expanding the market’s footprint,” Alderman Chuck Vest said, adding that he also wanted to ensure that the final plan would be viewed by the board and must fit with the character of downtown. “If we do something, let’s do it right.”

Alderman Terry Countermine also expressed his support of the project, as well as his confidence in the market being able to raise the necessary funds,

“I think there are people who believe in you,” Countermine said.

Childress voiced her appreciation for the town’s support.“What we are doing is unique to the nation, just so you know how special we are,” she said with a smile. “We’ve really done a lot together.”

The market is located at 101 Boone St., Jonesborough.