To get good insightful answers, how the question is framed matters. I missed an opportunity on Thursday
I'm in favour of the under construction Venti Cafe in the Hamilton Farmers' Market.
The Venti Cafe is being installed in the York Blvd atrium to the other side of the existing Sensational Samosa.
The primary argument against the Cafe is that it blocks some natural light.
Does it shadow anything in the Market? Barely, as most of the natural light comes from skylights where are not being blocked, the angle of light entry is such that there is minimal impediment to light entering the Market.
Natural light is not the issue, it's a red herring. Which is why there are some many rumours about the use, claims, and another round of drama in the Market?
It's a Venti Cafe, not a K-Cup distributor as some vendors have been telling market patrons.
If you are not familiar with Venti Cafe, there's one just inside the doors of Jackson Square at King and James.
Good Design Needed When Complete
The coffee serving area of the Venti Cafe is facing York Blvd, with a drywall wall for the rear facing the Market. I don't like this in the least. I understand why this exists for safety reasons, nonetheless, it cannot remain a blank wall.
Neither can it become a billboard for the Cafe.
The wall is a great canvas for a great piece of public art; the City should hold a public art competition to create a landmark similar to the new Barn art piece recently installed on York Blvd at the entrance to the Market.
How Venti Cafe Can Benefit the Market
I was at the Farmers' Market Board meeting in which the plan to rent the space was approved. (Vendors are on the Board)
Firstly, there is the benefit of revenue. City Council has no appetite for subsidizing the Market, and this space is being rented for a premium.
There's no mandate for the Market to make the City money, not even a capital reserve contribution. If the Market no long needs a subsidy, the Market Board will be able to use profits to market, host special events, and validate more parking.
Secondly, the Cafe will be open on non-Market days, including Sundays. This provides a proof of concept regarding if people will patronize the Market's location outside of business hours.
Thirdly, it adds to the Market's food and drink options. The addition of the food court - something which I was initially opposed to as it is not traditional to the Market - has generated new foot traffic and customers for all vendors in the Market.
Venti offers many of the same items as existing vendors, and also some new items. The Market can only benefit from addition draws, and the Venti Cafe in Jackson Square has become a destination for its patrons and built a loyal customer base.
Will Venti Hurt Existing Vendors, I Doubt It
Will it harm the businesses of existing vendors, I don't know.
Here's the thing, nobody is guaranteed a monopoly in the Market. There are already multiple coffee shpps in the Market, which each offer a different experience. I have my favourite, others have their own favourites.
I change up my choices frequently. I doubt Venti is going to draw from existing clients, I expect they'll draw customers from across the Downtown, adding to the overall number of patrons in the Market.
Personally, I expect I'll be grabbing coffee there outside of Market hours while I'm making use of the Hamilton Public Library.
The Market needs more business, it needs to decrease its taxpayer subsidy, and this new vendor helps achieve both.