Complaint leads to enforcement of Lee County Farmers Markets

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LEE COUNTY, Fla.,- Farmers markets versus flea markets! Tonight, there’s a battle over what can be sold at local farmer’s markets. One lady wants to get the rules changed.

Andrew Steele owns Fleamasters fleamarket in fort Myers. He says he is all for competition as long as it’s fair and everybody plays by the rules.

“We are fine for fair competition, there are other flea markets around,” said Steele.

In 2013, Lee County passed an ordinance saying only agricultural items could be sold at farmer’s markets in unincorporated Lee County, but Steele says
Farmers markets are offering other items that aren’t approved. So, he wrote a letter to Lee County voicing his concerns.

“I have nothing against farmers markets, they fall into a category of motherhood and apple pie, it’s good!”

But, one co-owner of five Lee County farmer’s markets tells WINK News, she has noticed craft vendors prefer to set up at farmers markets and not flea markets.

“They only have to commit to one day a week, often times you have long term leases at the flea markets,” said Jean Baer.

Jean Baer says enforcing the rule means a lot of vendors will have to find a new location to sell their goods.

“It will put somewhere between 30 to 50 small businesses out of business here in Lee County.”

Baer wants to get the ordinance changed so that more craft vendors to be included.

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