I think I will try to open a farm stand this summer. I have property that is on a major road and it has an open spot that will fit a small barn or lean-to and a parking area. I would love to sell fresh eggs, produce, crafts, soap, canned goods, baked goods, flowers, and meat from the little stand. My neighbors could all pitch in and send in things to sell. It would be a community stand for locals to sell and buy things from.
My friend and I were talking about it this morning. Both of our jobs are currently in jeopardy with recent budget woes and threats of the company moving to Florida. Neither of us are in a situation where we can move to Florida, so we have to think of something different to do in order to survive. Our location doesn't have many other job opportunities, so both of us are facing possible long-term unemployment. We have decided that if we can start our own little business, that may be enough to help us not fall into a hole of debt and poverty. We are both crafty people with small homesteads. I have goats and chickens and make goat milk soap. She has chickens and cows and grows an enormous garden. We could both produce enough stuff to get a little farm stand going.
The farm stand wouldn't be solely dependent on the stuff my friend and I make/grow. We would also take in crafts and food from other local people and sell it there. It would be like a permanent farmer's market. There's many people in the area that produce more than they can eat and also make crafts on the side. They would jump at the chance to have a location to sell at. The selling could work on commission or volunteer time at the store. There would be no limit on how much stuff you had to bring to sell. It could be as little as a few dozen eggs, or as much as a weekly order of beef and pork. We could also get an ice cream machine and hot dog stand going at the same location. The only rules we would have about stuff for sale would be that it has to be grown locally or made locally. No importing of stuff from large distributors. No mass produced products (except for maybe the ice cream mix and the hot dogs). We would have to follow the laws and regulations regarding sales, taxes, and food preparation.
If I built a small lean-to / barn, that would be plenty of space to put up some shelves and tables to accommodate all sorts of goods. It could be like the larger farm stands that dot the Amish country. They sell all sorts of goods and produce with very little overhead. The stand wouldn't need electricity for the first few years (unless we had an ice cream machine or freezer for meat selling). We might even be able to get away with a dirt floor and only 3 walls for a while. If it worked and we made money, we could invest that money into flooring, running water, and electricity. Eventually the store could be open all year round to sell Christmas gifts and other products to year-round residents.
This is the plan for now. Even if I have a job this summer, I would love to start a little farm stand. It wouldn't have to be much at first, but it sure would be nice for my friends and neighbors (and myself) to have an outlet for our products and produce.