ChoiceOne Bank was ahead of the curve when it came to supporting local produce and food. The Michigan-based bank has been at the forefront in support of this effort for a number of years.
President and CEO Jim Bosserd was the driving force between creating a partnership with the Sparta Farmers Market. The market, which has been open for seven years, was looking for space to use and in 2009, Bosserd stepped in and offered ChoiceOne Bank’s employee parking lot each week.
All of the bank employees give up their spaces in the parking lot each day the farmers market is in town. Not only does the bank help provide space for the farmers market to operate, it also gives something even bigger then space – free word-of-mouth advertisement. The bank employees love the Sparta market so much that not only do they shop and visit the vendors, they encourage customers are the bank to do the same. Many customers are farmers in the area and are encouraged to sell their produce, foods and goods at the Sparta Farmers Market too!
The goal of community banks is to help educate consumers on the benefits of building a more sustainable local community, Bosserd said.
“Community banks have always helped local farmers and small businesses grow their businesses,” Bosserd said. “By banking, shopping and dining locally, we can make a big impact on the fabric of our local communities, all while helping to build strong local economies. It means more local jobs and that is the bottom line today.”
Bosserd added that community banks, including ChoiceOne Bank, have consistently been a provider of agricultural credit within the commercial banking sector for hundreds of years. “We have the added advantage of being able to help our agricultural and small business customers with the unique dynamics of their local marketplace, helping them through good and bad times, because we live here and experience all this, too.”
Tell us about your community’s farmers market! Are you a community bank who sponsors a market in your town? Let us know! We’re always encouraging people to bank local, dine local and shop local.
Each Friday this May, be on the lookout for Go Local’s Friday Farmers Market posts. We’re highlighting the great works community banks from across the country do with their local markets.