by Linnea Carlson, Manger of the Jamestown Public Market.
“I’m sorry! There is a dog that I have to go say hello to.” This was a common phrase uttered by the Jamestown Public Market’s Nutrition Benefits Coordinator, Lily, over the course of our 2021 season. As a dog lover and community connector, Lily always made sure to say ‘hello’ to the many doggos that visited us at the Jamestown Public Market.
While dogs have always been welcome at the market, we saw an increase in visits from our furry friends in 2021, and we don’t attribute that just to the expansion of the market itself. Most of the dogs visiting with their people were coming to market for one thing, and one thing only: Father Bernard’s Blessed Biscuits.
I admit, I was a little skeptical about the initial success of such an endeavor when Father Luke first approached us at JPM. While we were more than supportive of the idea and felt it would be incredibly impactful, I personally felt that the community may need time to warm up to the concept of a ‘social enterprise’, especially one that is focused exclusively on catering to the desires of dogs. Boy was I wrong!
I grossly underestimated a few things about Father Bernard’s; the first being the support of our community. And I have been humbled and delighted to see the incredible amount of individuals and families that have purchased biscuits. Community building relies on so much more than just the demand that we ‘do more.’ We all want to give back, and Father Bernard’s makes it incredibly easy to do so. Every person that purchases a bag of biscuits knows that they are impacting the recovery community, building a foundation for those who assist in the business to grow, learn and stay safe in their journey.
The second thing I underestimated was the taste! You may think ‘come on, dogs will eat anything’, but in my experience that is just not true. Dogs can be just as picky, if not more, than us humans! What I can confidently say, however, is that every dog that has tried Father Bernard’s biscuits LOVE them. They just can’t get enough. Both they and their owners light up when they approach their vendor tent, and while the taste plays a pivotal role, it is also accompanied by a smiling and welcoming volunteer.
The Jamestown Public Market was proud to offer space to Father Bernard’s as a vendor and hopes to continue to support their growth. Farmers’ Markets are a wonderful space for small businesses or social enterprises to expand. They offer direct customer engagement opportunities, marketing prospects, and a joyous atmosphere to develop workforce skills overall. We see customers and visitors from all walks (and paws) of life and are delighted to introduce new businesses that fill customer needs via the market.
I am proud to be, not only a part of the St Luke’s Family but the manager of the JPM and a supporter of ways for our community to better connect. Connection is truly what makes progress move forward. Connecting over our love of dogs, and their love of biscuits entrenches us further into a community of support and love. Without that connection Father Bernard’s Blessed Biscuits would not exist, nor would it have been as successful as it was in its first year.
I encourage you to visit both Father Bernard’s website and order some biscuits for a dog friend in your life. They are not only worth treating your canine pal, but they are also supporting an incredible need. Starting June 11, you can find Father Bernard’s every week at the Jamestown Public Market and meet the volunteers and individuals that work to bring the biscuits to our community, each baked with love.
Together we can accomplish so much! And if we get to make man’s best friend incredibly happy in the process it is well worth it.