Some of the vendors at the new Sherman Oaks Community Farmers Markets who also sell their wares at the t said they are taking a “wait and see” attitude about the newly-named manager Melody Dosch.
More than a dozen vendors who also come regularly to the Studio City Farmers Market—including the team that puts up the inflatable slide for the children—appeared at the opening of the new market at the Sherman Oaks Galleria parking lot on Saturday. At least three vendors were hesitant to speak on the record about their feelings about former manager from the job in Studio City, because they said they were worried about not being invited to sell anymore.
Dosch told Patch that those fears are unfounded and that there are absolutely no major changes planned for the existing vendors. She said she expressly met with each vendor and sent letters to them explaining that she’d like them to stay. She said she hopes to quell any such fears that the vendors may have as she transitions into the job over the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, Gallegos was busy running around the much smaller farmers market in Sherman Oaks, making sure people didn’t bring their dogs into the area and greeting familiar faces, Los Angeles Police officers and a representative from Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian’s office. (Patch also has a booth there for opening day, with Sherman Oaks Patch editor Doug Kriegel.)
“A few of the shoppers told me that they don’t want to go back to Studio City’s market, and that is too bad,” Gallegos said. “And for a first day, and with overcast weather, we have had a great turnout.”
Hector Venegas, of V-Flowers, wakes up his nephew, Kevin, and his wife, Josie, at 2 a.m. to pack up their truck with flowers in Nipomo, Calif. (near Pismo Beach) to come down to the Los Angeles area markets. He said he was very upset about the change in management with the Studio City Farmers Market because it’s where his best sales take place.
He distributes his home-grown flowers (no greenhouses, all outdoors), to 15 farmers markets, (including the much larger Hollywood Farmers Market and this new Sherman Oaks one), but Studio City is tops.
“I am very, very, very concerned,” Venegas said. “Carole handled the market in a very professional way, and I am concerned that it looks like a volunteer board is taking it over.” (Although Dosch was previously on the volunteer board overseeing the market, she has restaurant experience since she opened the Artisan Cheese Gallery and has legal experience.)
“It is not easy to run a farmers market,” Venegas said. “I have met Melody two times and there is no way to see how she will do with it after meeting her on only two occasions, but I hope she is as professional. This is an unknown for me and for my family, so we are concerned. This is what I do for a living.”
Venegas said he appreciates the Studio City customers, who like to have flowers around their homes. “The people in Studio City are very nice, they are very loyal, and they like flowers,” he said. “I want to stay there.”
Brothers Mo and Malik Azouz, who help with their father’s homemade hummus business, said they were saddened by the news of Gallegos leaving Studio City’s market.
“It is heartbreaking,” said Mo. “I know my father and all our family have been working with her for 10 years, and it is sad to see her treated this way.”
Malik added, “We love working with Carole.”
Dave Kim, who owns Dave’s Gourmet, Korean Kitchen said, “I asked ‘What happened?’ and was told that they voted and she was no longer there, and I was shocked and told her I thought she was a nice lady. They told me that ‘We will see you there at Studio City, and that is good,’ but I do hope that it will not be strange. I will miss her a lot and I hope the new management comes up to be like her. . . . She did a wonderful job. I expect it to be running just as good.”
And, Edgar Flores, of Buenrostro Farms, said he has been selling his assorted Romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, snap peas and more for two years at Studio City Farmers Market. He wonders if now is the time to take a break from there, and focus on just one market, and right now he’s in Sherman Oaks. “Sunday is my day off, after all,” he smiled.
One Studio City resident, who asked not to be identified, said he volunteered at the Studio City market with Gallegos, sitting at the staff table, and even doing some of the paperwork. He said he had noticed slight changes in the market over the past few months, but never saw it coming that Gallegos would be let go.
“I just don’t want to see a war between markets,” he said. “That wouldn’t be good for anyone.”
Meanwhile, Gallegos said there are some differences between what she did at Studio City. She will not have craft booths, like they had with local artists in Studio City. She has a bit of a smaller area in Sherman Oaks.
Would she come back to Studio City?
“If they wanted me, I would go back,” Gallegos said. “Yes, I would go back.”
Meanwhile, there is discussion about a planned rally at the at 11 a.m. April 10 to get Gallegos’s job back. She is billed as one of the attendees. (EDITOR'S NOTE: This event has been canceled.)
“No, I think I will steer clear of that,” Gallegos said. “I won’t be attending.”