Dan Kostecke keeps busy with his business, Guiding Light Garlic Farm, but felt like he wanted to do more to help local farmers. Over a year ago, he decided to open his first indoor farmers market, LFA Farmers Market, in Mason. Then in December, LFA Farmers Market & Micro Cafe came to Keller’s Plaza in Williamston.
LFA stands for Local Farm Alliance. It looks to create new and sustainable opportunities for farmers, but also for local artists and artisans. “Everything is sourced as close as we can because we want to keep money local,” said Kostecke. “We want people to understand the importance of supporting local businesses and know who it is that they are supporting when they make a purchase with us. There is a family or an individual behind every product.”
In his market, Kostecke adds a personal touch by adding a photo and the location of the family or individual who created the product. “The people [of Williamston] do appreciate the value of helping a neighbor,” said Kostecke.
Any time you support local businesses, that’s a plus, said Williamston resident and LFA customer Julie Fuller. “People live here, work here, and they bring their goods here. It’s investing in your own town and I love that.”
Although the Mason location is larger, this LFA has a micro cafe where they can grab a cup of coffee and buy products unique to the store.
LFA is also helping grow the community and economy of Williamston. Corey Schmidt, Williamston’s city manager, always looks forward to filling an empty storefront. “The location that LFA is in has been vacant for quite some time, so for Keller’s Plaza to fill that front space on the first floor is huge,” said Schmidt. “I think that’ll bring more people to Keller’s Plaza, and now the entire first floor is occupied.”
Celebrating over a month of being open, Kostecke reflected on next steps that include expanding lunch items to sandwiches, soups and salads. He also plans to open more locations so that they can increase accessibility to local goods and products.
LFA is continually adding new products and come spring and summer the store will be getting more produce. Kostecke said he gets requests all the time from people who want to sell their products at his store, so this is just the beginning.