A Walk Down Loyalty Lane

By Nancy Smith, Secretary, Farm to Family Naturally

In a lifetime of working with farmers, one of the strongest characteristics I have encountered is loyalty. Most farmers are loyal to their belief systems, their families, their customers, their suppliers, their friends and their organizations. It’s a salt-of-the-earth characteristic that can be counted on. It’s one of the things that has made this country strong, and it continues to enrich our culture. Having an assurance of loyalty from our farmer-suppliers enables us to work as a team with the farmers who grow the fresh, delicious food we offer at Sappington Farmers Market. Consistently, since we farmers bought the store in 2008, our local family farmers have shown us their loyalty as we established standards and pricing criteria. They stayed with us through the ups and downs of a fluctuating market. They sent their friends to us and gave up their free time to come to the store and meet our customers. And having an assurance of loyalty from our wonderful customers allows us to try new products and marketing techniques.

A new program which has just been instituted at the store is the Loyalty Lane rewards card program. Our loyal customers have not let us down. The response to the rewards program has been overwhelming. In the first week, we have signed up well over three hundred excited customers.
When pondering the reasons for this outpouring of support, I realized that one of the reasons is that our customers want to express their loyalty to our farmers. Most people realize that it is essential to change our food system. Sappington Farmers Market gives St. Louis consumers a focus for their loyalty and support of independent family farmers. Loyalty Lane is one manifestation of the relationship between our suppliers, our store and our customers. The program has been chosen for the broad range of benefits it offers our customers, but also for the flexibility it gives us to offer special rewards for buying local. Although many of the free products offered are standard grocery store items, this program also enables us to offer free local farm products. The very first week of Loyalty Lane we have been able to offer a free dozen Good Earth eggs. As the program continues, the number of rewards for buying local will increase, and so will the number of local items featured as free or discounted products.

While I’m on the subject of loyalty, let me say a huge “Thank you” to the loyal customers who come to our sampling Sundays once a month to meet our suppliers and celebrate the local food movement with us. It is an honor to bring all of you together in an atmosphere of excitement.
Sappington Farmer’s Market is located at 8400 Watson Road, between Elm and Laclede Station Road. Visit our booth at the Healthy Planet Natural Living Expo, Sunday, Feb. 27 in Webster Groves.

The Healthy Planet does not endorse any information contained in articles, advertisements or directory listings and we suggest consulting a health care professional before beginning any therapy or medical treatment.