Saturday, 21 September 2013

2013 - Autumn - 2014 - Winter

That year of launching a small business, holding down a full time and part time job, our family became deeply involved in operating the food truck, it was exhausting, and near the end of the market season, we had realized that this was not sustainable use of time.

To add insult to exhaustion, we had an anonymous complaint filed to the city of Hamilton, stating that we had a commercial vehicle parked at our Ancaster home.

The market ended the 16th of October and the city graciously gave us till Nov 1st to remove our awesomely loved travel trailer from our driveway.

I resigned from my contract position with the BIA as Market Manager fulfilling all the requirements of the contract in the hopes that they would still allow ojo's to continue to operate at the Farmers Market in 2014.  We paid full vendor fee's to have Ojo's at the market along with the market membership fees.  Ojo's was a member in good standing by Farmers Market Ontario Standards, 

On November first we rented a warehouse at 1632 Wilson Street West home of Soldaats poultry.  Since this was private property and we we renting we assumed that the city of Hamilton Food truck by-law would allow us to operate

We followed the city guielines and filed for a zoning verification to operate our food truck at 1632 Wilson Street West.

The city told us that M3 Prestige Industrial Zone did not allow for food trucks.  Wait a minute we thought, we have met all the conditions of the food truck by-law, no restaurant in site, and far away from the BIA.  So we argued our position with zoning and city hall, and in February 2014, we were given permission to operate a food truck at 1632 Wilson Street West.

During this 4 month period where we were going back and forth with the city we continued to pay rent at our location despite not being allowed to operate.

4 months, a very cold winter and a 1000 sq foot warehouse space, we tried to find a loop hole to allow a food truck to operate.

We applied for a SEAT application, for a special event Holiday market, we were advised by the city that we did not need permission as we were on Private Property, so on Dec 21st we held our first market called the OJo Shop Local Solstice Market. We operated the food truck, froze the truck solid in the seasons worse ice storm, but all in all had lots of fun and the market was well received.

With the encouragement from the market vendors we decided to form a Farmers Market for the west end of town.  We first contacted the Ancaster Farmer Market and asked them if they wanted to collaberate.  We were advised that the AFM would not support a second market in Ancaster.   

We decided to move ahead regardless of the opinion of the AFM, we contacted Farmers Market Ontario and asked for support, we contacted the health dept of the city of Hamilton and advised them our our intentions, we had two health inspections prior to opening, we installed wash basins and hand sinks.  On March 21st we founded the OJO shop local spring market, with a handful of supporting vendors.

During this period we remained in contract with the then manager of the AFM, and submitted our vendor paperwork for the 2014 season, after reviewing our application with the management team of the AFM the manager told us that our application had been refused because of starting a new market.  We shook our head, accepted the position and moved on.  

Friday, 7 June 2013

June 8 2013 - our first event - Ancaster Heritage Days!

After months of planning, it was finally here, our first event was 2013 Ancaster Heritage Days, we started with movie night, me Dave and the kids, it was a fun thing for us all to do, we had been busy planning and cooking and preparing that it was quite a bit overwhelming our first day - but  the family was  on board it was fun.

The parade was a  food truck zoo - line ups of people waiting for fries, we ran out of potatoes and ketchup, and we had a thing to learn about streamlining our process flow and that still to this day can be one of the biggest challenges.