PHOTO: Dave Boyt
Whether you’re selling produce at a roadside stand or a farmers market, one of the biggest tasks is setting up and taking down the stand. While the old standby of a folding table is a workable solution, it is cumbersome, difficult to transport in a car and looks like all of your competitors’ produce stands. To attract customers, you need a booth that stands out, but it also should be easy to set up, take down and store in a small area.
Below are plans for an inexpensive, easy-to-build market stand that will set you apart from the competition. While the final product is a mobile produce stand, the design can be modified for a more permanent stand.
Creating The Perfect Display
Before you begin building your stand, think about how you want the overall display to look. How you display your produce depends on your merchandise. For example, if you have just one or two products, use your stand to emphasize the fact that you have a cornucopia of corn, a plethora of potatoes or a bounty of beans. On the other hand, if you have a variety of different products, you’ll likely want to incorporate bins that make each product visible to potential buyers.
Here are some other tips for creating an inviting market stand:
- Display Your Farm Name: It’s important to include prominent signage that tells customers the name of your farm. Putting your name out there gives potential customers a sense of security and allows them to remember you in the future.
- Offer Relief From The Heat: An awning or large umbrella and even free ice water will give customers welcome relief from the hot weather as they do their farmers market shopping.
- Boast Your Wares: Don’t be shy about bragging about the produce that you worked so hard to grow. What variety is it? Make it clear on your signage. If it is organic, non-hybrid, vine-ripened or picked just that morning, that’s also good information to include.
- Set Out Business Cards: Have business cards available so loyal customers know how to contact you or can pass your name along to their friends. Better yet, set out brochures that describes your farm, how you grow produce and what you have available.
- Keep Things Tidy: Any part of the stand that comes in contact with food (even eggs and corn in the husk) needs to be easily cleaned, so construct your stand out of plastic or non-treated lumber. Avoid particleboard, which typically is made with formaldehyde. Plywood is relatively cheap and easy to work with, but solid wood boards are best.
Building Your Booth
Now that you have an idea of the image you want to present to customers, you can start building. Here are plans for an inexpensive produce stand made out of 3-inch schedule 40 PVC pipe. It is fairly easy to put together, sturdy, and you can take it apart for storage or transport.
What You’ll Need:
A: Elbow (x6)
B: T (x10)
C: 45-degree Y (x2)
D: Cap (x4)
E: 72 inches (x3)
F: 36 inches (x2)
G: 16 inches (x2)
H: 32 inches (x2)
I: 8¼ inches (x2)
J: 23 inches (x2)
K: 10½ inches (x2)
L: 30¼ inches (x2)
M: 3 inches (x4)
N: 10 inches (x4)
Your stand can easily be assembled using the diagram above. Before getting started, label each piece for easy identification. Number both ends of each piece with a corresponding number in the connector. This will help you assemble the stand without instructions.
The split 55-gallon barrel is to hold ice and vegetables you want to keep cool, as well as cold drinks while tending shop. Fasten it to the PVC legs with wire to weight the stand down in case the wind picks up.
Add brackets to hold boxes of produce as desired.