Nearly every time you turn around an oft repeated phrase can be heard, and it goes something like this: “I wish there were more things to do in Clinton” or “I wish our county had more offerings like larger cities.”
In truth both are happening, but the sad things in, few take part in areas where growth is trying to happen or opportunities are being offered.
Take, as an example, the Clinton City Market on Lisbon Street where, this week, a lone farmer sat selling his produce, including things one can find at much larger Farmers Markets in Raleigh or Greensboro — home-grown cucumbers, pepper plants, tomatoes, dill, lavender and sage.
Other farmers are expected to set up shop at the market over the next few weeks, presenting their offerings to the few who actually frequent the outdoor venue during its season, which begins in May and is open 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
The sad thing is few take advantage of the opportunity the market affords, a fact that has served to keep some vendors away. Who wants to pack up fresh vegetables, plants and other products, bring them into town, nicely display them and proffer them to those who visit the city market only to have a handful – or less – show up on any given day?
Truth is, very few. It’s not cost effective for vendors to utilize the market if they can make more selling their produce from roadside stands, and given the sad turnout season to season at the downtown market, that has certainly been the case.
And therein become the double-edged sword that the market faces. If there are no vendors, there will be few visitors; and, on the other hand, if there only a few frequent the market, vendors will not be enticed to take part.
For the city’s part, organizers have tried, modifying hours and lengthening the season to do everything to promote the market and boost traffic. As reported in Thursday’s Sampson Independent, the results have been mixed.
But it’s not only the city market that finds itself without the support we thought would surely come. Such has been the case with the Agri-Exposition Center’s concert series. An answer to the age-old complaint that there was nothing to do in Clinton, the concert series offered quality shows at reasonable prices, much like those in larger cities and towns in North and South Carolina.
But like the market, attendance was mixed. Because of that and budgetary constraints from several years ago, the series was axed. A modified version was revived this year, with one show already proffered to residents. And just like this year’s market opening, the show was great, attendance lukewarm.
And therein lies the problem. We all seem to find it easy to criticize what our great city and county do or don’t have, but when we actually get what we ask for, the support doesn’t always follow.
We know people are busy and, bottom line: what they do with their time and money is their business. But if we want to see a growth in activities and events in our area, we need to try to support them whenever and however we can.
The opportunity is there right now. The city market is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and more vendors will soon be arriving with plants and produce to sell. Want you come out and visit, shop and, if possible, buy? We honestly believe you’ll be glad you did.