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Josh's Farmers Market facing issues trying to relocate after being forced to close

The farmers market closed on Oct. 31 and the owner says plans to move to a new permanent location continue to be put on pause.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — For the past 30 years, Josh's Famers Market has been a staple in Mooresville, but that tradition is now being tainted with changes forcing the farmer's market to relocate to a permanent location due to a town ordinance.

Owner Josh Graham said the business first began selling fruits and vegetables in front of his grandparents' home and then moved to the property behind the Lowe's YMCA on Joe Knox Avenue in April 2021.

“They offered us this space," Graham said. "It was initially supposed to be a nine-month fix."

The long-term plan is to build on a 4.5-acre lot they closed on last year just minutes away at the corner of Williamson and Sundown roads. But Graham told WCNC Charlotte that process has come with struggles.

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“We ran into some roadblocks and timing and with COVID, it took much longer than the 12 months we were given," Graham said. "And now we’re struggling with easements with the proposed DOT road widening."

Due to requirements of the town ordinance, Josh's Farmer's Market no longer meets the criteria for a "seasonal outdoor farmer's market" and instead must be permitted as a permanent retail establishment. 

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The town allowed the farmer's market to operate through the end of July and in September began imposing daily fines to the YMCA that owns the property. But even that came to an end on Oct. 31 when Josh's Farmer's Market officially closed and now the owners are left looking for next steps.

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“Now we’re back at square one," Graham said. "It’s going to happen, that’s why we bought the land, but I realize now it can’t happen overnight and it definitely can’t happen in 12 months.”

Leaders at the YMCA say they will allow Josh's Farmer's Market to stay as long as necessary, but they need the town to also agree. Faithful customers have started a petition in hopes of keeping Josh's Farmers Market around.

“The community has been hugely supportive and really spoken out and I’ve said we have the best customer base that any small business can have," Graham said.

During a Mooresville Town Board meeting Monday night, loyal customers of Josh's Farmers Market spoke out during a public comment session. Graham told town leaders he's already had offers to move to four different nearby towns if necessary. 

Contact Briana Harper at bharper@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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