ITHACA, N.Y. — Locally founded company Ithaca Hummus is pledging to match all donations made to the Ithaca Farmers Market (IFM) fundraiser from July 9 to 12, without a price limit.
Ithaca Hummus owner Chris Kirby started his company with his wife in 2013, selling it at the weekend market. Their products are now sold in many national stores such as Whole Foods, Target, and Safeway.
“I want more small businesses to be able to come through the market and chase success like I have,” said Kirby in a press release Thursday. “What’s good for the market is good for the local Ithaca economy, we need to keep the market around.”
The Farmers Market returned to regular business hours recently, after having reduced hours due to COVID-19. The market believes that the effects of the pandemic will be felt for months to come. The fundraiser was announced in late June, in efforts to combat the financial damage of the pandemic. Kirby stated that he reached out to IFM to help them surpass their initial goal of $20,000.
“We’ve lost a huge chunk of our income,” said Executive Director Becca Rimmel. “We can cut back some on spending, but we need help to make up the difference. We lost close to $60,000 in event rental income alone because weddings at the market have been postponed to 2021. That money usually goes toward paying our bills to keep the lights on.”
IFM has been working closely with the Tompkins County Health Department to enforce guidelines such as social distancing, limiting vendors and limiting customer group size to help limit the risk to patrons and vendors.
Kirby said that their goal is to help alleviate financial concerns of the Market.
“I really attribute a lot of my success to the interactions I had with customers in the early days,” said Kirby. “Talking to people at the market and finding out what people liked and wanted was so valuable. I really didn’t have much money to start a business back then. Vending at the market was a great way to get started because the start-up costs are so low, unlike opening a brick and mortar shop.”
You can support Ithaca Farmers Market fundraised and get more information here.