Whistler Farmers' Market hires new manager 

Rossanne Clamp brings seven years' experience from Vancouver's Circle Craft market

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - MARKET MANAGER: The Whistler Farmers Market has hired a new manager for the 2019 season, Rossanne Clamp.
  • Photo submitted
  • MARKET MANAGER: The Whistler Farmers Market has hired a new manager for the 2019 season, Rossanne Clamp.

The board of the Whistler Farmers' Market (WFM) has officially hired a new manager, one who brings a wealth of experience from one of Vancouver's largest craft markets.

Rossanne Clamp takes over the growing Whistler market after seven years as the show producer and coordinator for Circle Craft, a B.C.-artist cooperative that runs an annual, five-day Christmas Market. The market attracts more than 300 vendors and 45,000 attendees to the Vancouver Convention Centre every year.

"Her resume speaks miles to what she's done previously," said WFM board chair Nathan Hawkins. "Her personality is going to work well, I think, with all the vendors and the experience that she's had thus far."

Clamp, who moved to Whistler from Pemberton last year, is confident she can manage the different wants and needs of the dozens of vendors who set up shop at the Upper Village market every week.

"Obviously for every exhibitor and every vendor, this is always a really important event they have going on. For some people, it's the majority of their income coming in," she said. "Everyone has ideas about where they think they should be, what's best for their product, or how they want the market to go. Generally speaking, every market has policies they (use) and you work through those policies. I know the Whistler Farmers' Market has a lot of systems in place that I'm looking to learn completely and then address it case by case."

Clamp comes to the market following a period of turmoil—last summer, the market came close to not operating. But after a deal was struck at the 11th hour, the market carried on as planned. (See "A Tale of Two Farmers' Markets," Pique, May 16, 2018 and "Jury selection for Whistler Farmers' Market underway," Pique, Feb. 8, 2019.)

Clamp said she was "aware of conflict coming in" to the job, and believes her relative outsider status will help her navigate the challenges of the new role.

"I do know, stepping in, I think it's a bit of an advantage for me being an outsider, because I'm coming in, I don't know the stories in the same way, I don't have that personal experience," she explained. "Maybe that would have been seen as a negative in some circumstances, but in this particular circumstance, it feels good to not be a part of any of that. I think at this point, it's about (recognizing) we are where we are, and we're just looking to move forward."

Speaking within earshot of board chair Hawkins and vice-chair Alyssa Belter, Clamp said she is confident in the new board's ability to govern effectively.

"So far, being onboard has been excellent and I've gotten everything I need," she said. "Everyone's been incredibly welcoming and responsive to all of my questions and I feel very confident that everyone is on the same page."

The WFM has grown substantially over the past decade, expanding from about 50 vendors a day in 2010 to between 80 and 90 last year, as well as adding a Wednesday night market in the months of July and August.

Clamp still sees opportunities for growth, and iterated that that growth could come in several different forms.

"It doesn't necessarily mean more vendors," she noted. "Sometimes growing means (providing) a more comprehensive customer experience, whether it's more of a musical component or a speaker coming in and talking about something. It doesn't necessarily mean that we're going to grow in terms of footprint, but we're always looking to improve it for the community."

The deadline for vendors to apply for the 2019 market is March 15. Both the craft vendor and food vendor jury days are slated for sometime in April.

Interested vendors can learn more at whistlerfarmersmarket.org/new-page-1.

The first early-season market is slated for Father's Day, June 16.

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