Sunday, April 25, 2010

This Week in Sandpoint....Career Fair & Opening of the Sandpoint Farmers Market

It’s the first sign of summer in Sandpoint. Vendors line the perimeter of downtown’s Farmin Park and spill into neighboring Jeff Jones Town Square. The Farmers Market at Sandpoint, a nonprofit organization managed by its members, takes place Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons.

As this 22-year-old Sandpoint tradition opens Saturday, it is making changes to adapt to the struggling economy. According to Emily Levine, vendor and market board member, this year food stamps will be accepted.

“The Moscow Farmers Market spearheaded the system for Idaho,” said Levine who last year attended a farmers market management conference. “It (accepting food stamps) is a natural progression for the farmers market. It will allow low-income people to be able to use the market.”

The same guidelines that apply to the use of food stamps in grocery stores will apply at the market.

The only exception, said Levine, is that people will be able to purchase plant starts for food items with their food stamps.

“The plant starts is a real cool thing so people who want to can have their own garden,” she said.

Each vendor who accepts food stamps will go through training. When customers arrive at the market they will go to the market manager who will issue food market script which can be used throughout the entire market season.

Sandpoint’s market has grown each year. “In our busy season we will have at least 80 to 85 vendors at market on a given Saturday, and approximately 30 vendors at our Wednesday markets,” said market manager RaeAnn Mavity. She said the Saturday market has a farm/food section as well as fine arts and crafts. There’s also live music.

Career Fair Wednesday

If you are among the many who are struggling to find employment, you may want to visit Sandpoint on Wednesday for the Fifth Annual Career Fair hosted by the Idaho Department of Labor and the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce from noon to 6 p.m. at the Bonner Mall.

The fair, sponsored by Litehouse, Inc., will host employers who will accept applications and some who even intend to conduct on-site interviews.

“One of the most challenging obstacles in obtaining a job is getting your foot in the door, and the Career Fair allows job seekers opportune face-to-face interaction with employers,” said Amy Little, president and CEO of Sandpoint’s Chamber of Commerce.

While some people may be searching for full-time work and others just need a part-time position, organizers say there will be something for everyone. The employers include those looking to hire in a variety of industries including health care, manufacturing, education and management.

“The (available) jobs are changing daily as new positions open and existing ones are filled,” said Bridgette Bradshaw-Fleer of the Idaho Department of Labor. Organizers say there are tasks job seekers can do prior to attending the event that will help to create a positive impression on the employers present.

The Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce has a list of employers who are attending the fair listed on its website, ( . Job seekers can research the employers and prepare and present résumés tailored to the appropriate position for which they are applying.

Preparing a short introduction and dressing appropriately can go a long way to creating a lasting impression.

Additionally, Ruth Wimberley of Human Resource Consulting and Amber Snoddy of Business Management Services will be available at the fair to support and counsel job seekers, offering suggestions on résumés and answering questions.