To the Journal editor:
We were away when we read the news. One of our favorite stores was closing. We were sad to hear that Farmer Q's was moving on and were curious as to why.
From our perspective, business was good, customers were happy, and Sue and Tom Brian of Farmer Q's were glad to be back in Sue's hometown, raising their daughter near grandparents in the beautiful Upper Peninsula.
Why leave? We read in the paper about the Farmer Guild's Market rules. We saw a posting of Pat Frenn, Sue's mom presenting her thoughts to the Marquette City Commission. Then, we had an idea.
Tom and Sue's frustration over the lack of attention to their situation from some city and Downtown Development Authority leaders and the unwelcoming, even troubling behavior from some Co-op, and Farmers' Guild leaders aimed at Farmer Q's, especially their participation in the Saturday Market (an event that the Brians co-founded) became too much. So, not wanting to cause more division or controversy, they decided to move on.
Through their business, the Brians provided a wonderful service to our community. They brought fresh, farm-grown, Michigan fruit to the area, much of it coming from just 4 to 5 hours away in the LP. Farmer Q's is not a grocery store like Econo. It's a small produce market that features Michigan fruit, modeled after the small farm markets that dot the landscape of northwestern Lower Michigan.
The Brians supplied us with produce that we can't and don't grow here. While we appreciate our local farmers and buy their produce at the Market and Co-op, we don't understand why the Farmers' Guild wanted to exclude Farmer Q's from the Saturday Market.
From our observations, Farmer Q's didn't hurt the local farmers. They helped them by drawing people to the Market with their fruit, shoppers who then went on to buy from our farmers what we can and do grow here.
In spite of all that has happened, it's our hope that seeds of some needed forgiveness and reconciliation will be sown here. We are hoping for a do-over where Tom and Sue might be made to feel welcomed, appreciated and valued for what they brought to our tables and to the Saturday Market, and encouraged to stay here.
We hope Tom and Sue will reconsider their decision to move on. If not, thank you Farmer Q's! We'll miss you.