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Big Drop In Business Following Downtown Farmers Market Move

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A summer staple of downtown Minneapolis is in a new location this year, but vendors at the farmers market say the move is hurting their business.

The market, which has been on Nicollet Mall every Thursday for years, has been moved to Hennepin Avenue. It's because the pedestrian mall is undergoing a $50 million renovation over the next two years.

"The customers just aren't here," said Bob Dehn, who runs Dehn's Garden.

He was in the Nicollet Mall location for 29 years. He says business is down 70 percent this year.

"We had a really strong following of customers," he said, "and they don't even really know we're here."

Market regular Thomas Gallagher said the mall was a lot nicer to walk through compared with the traffic on Hennepin Avenue.

Weather is also an issue.

"When it rains, the road is filled with water and the buses and the cars [splash] and everything gets wet," Dehn said.

Jacob Frey, a member of the Minneapolis City Council, said the city didn't want to have the farmers market on Nicollet Mall half the season and on Hennepin Avenue during the other half.

While construction hasn't started yet on Nicollet Mall, Frey says the project is on schedule to get the farmers market back to its original spot in two years.

"[Hennepin Avenue] is not the ideal location," Frey said. "Nicollet is ideal, but we're trying to make it more ideal for years down the road."

The downtown market will run through November. It's open every Thursday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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