The Athens Farmers Market announced last Thursday that its manager has resigned after a decade of service to the popular local outdoor market.
In a news release, the market thanked Kip Parker for his service, and said he’ll be missed.
In a separate statement, Becky Clark, in charge of marketing and promotions for the Farmers Market, said that Parker “did not give us a reason for his resignation, but rather a clear and professional resignation email (received July 1) stating he was ready to move on. We can't thank him enough for his 10 years of service to the market, and we continue to look forward to the future of the AFM.”
In a phone interview on Monday, Parker said that he’s just ready to spend more time with his grandkids. The Farmers Market directorship was his second job, he added.
“At my age, one job is enough,” said Parker, 67, who works as a real-estate appraiser.
In the AFM news release, market vendor Marjorie Shew praised Parker for his work. “For 10 years, it is Kip that has brought order to the market every Saturday morning, and, as vendors, we cannot thank him enough.”
“During his long tenure,” the AFM release said, “Kip attended nearly every market day, balanced the market books, attended EC meetings, and assisted in the management of various programs including SNAP, WIC, Jr. Chef School, Wholesome Wave, and Market Bucks, the latter of which he was instrumental in implementing last year.”
While Parker will be missed from the market, the release continued, “we feel confident that Athens has many qualified candidates who possess a passion for local food, farmers markets and small business management.”
A hiring committee has been formed to screen applicants “with hopes of having a new market manager in training as soon as possible,” the release said.
Interested candidates can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, according to the news release.
Over the past few years, discussion has continued over whether and where the AFM should move its location. It’s been in the parking lot in front of The Market on State since 1998 (which back then was called the University Mall). (You can see the history of the Athens Farmers Market here.)
According to the news release announcing Parker’s departure, “The market has a bright future with plans in development to partner with the city of Athens in a move to a permanent location, increased energy being directed to launching a capital funds campaign, and an ever-growing interest from the community in shopping locally. The market looks forward to welcoming a new manager to join in these efforts.”
Clark, in her email on Friday, elaborated on the AFM’s efforts to find a suitable new location. “We have been working on a business plan, a new website and tagline, increase events, and vendor and customer recruitment, all of which we see an instrumental to facilitating our move,” she wrote. “We are continuing to work with ACEnet, Project for Public Space and the City of Athens to formulate and execute the plan.”
She added that this effort is the “primary focus” of the market, “but no concrete plans have been put in place yet.”
Parker said no specific incident or development triggered his decision to quit now. “Not really,” he said. “After 10 years, I want the market to succeed and everybody to succeed.”
He added that since resigning, he feels better. “It’s nice that now I no longer have to wake up early on Saturdays.
As for any other statement, he concluded, “I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve made a lot of good friends and lasting memories. That’s about it.”