On Monday, June 13, the Southampton Olive Oil Company was `kicked out` of Kincardine’s Market in the Park, which takes place every Monday during the summer. By the next day their vendor status was re-instated, however the noise surrounding the issue was no quieter.
The issue stemmed from a complaint from a Kincardine business that the out-of-town business created competition with another local business. In a Facebook post, it was said that a staff member of the Municipality of Kincardine tore up the seasonal vendor agreement.
“The Southampton Oil Company was originally denied access as a vendor to Market in the Park due to concerns over creating competition for a local business,” Roxana Baumann, Acting CAO/Director of Corporate Services, reiterated. “The matter has been re-evaluated by staff, and we have reached out to the vendor to offer our apologies.”
The Municipality currently does not have a policy in place to deny an application on the basis of competition, and therefore the decision was made to reinstate the vendor permit for 2022.
“We will be reviewing our policies over the course of the year, and possibly developing criteria for the 2023 season,” she stated.
“There were comments made on social media that suggested Council was to blame for this issue, however that is not the case,” clarified Roxana Baumann, Acting CAO/Director of Corporate Services. “I would like to take this opportunity to clarify that the original decision to deny access was made by staff, and not by Council. Any future changes to our policies will be brought forward to Council for review and approval.”
Lorelle Hedley, a concerned citizen, agrees that a policy needs to be written up;
“There should have been more thought put into this and they need to make a policy for when things like this come up, because it’s going to come up again,” she said. “They have to know how to deal with this accordingly. There has to be a way to appease everybody, including the consumer.
“We need to look after our local businesses while still creating that sense of welcoming – ‘Come to Kincardine – we love your products’,” suggested Hedley. “That’s how our economy grows, it’s a healthy competition. No healthy comp means there’s no need to better their products. It`s part of life. We need that in order to grow.”
“Our municipality needs to start working objectively and progressively here, because if we can pick and choose we’ll never grow and people won’t want to bring their business here,” she concluded. “This has put a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths, so hopefully the Municipality of Kincardine has learned a lesson from this and hopefully the waters will smooth over within the business community.”
“We were surprised and very pleased by the Municipality of Kincardine’s quick action to bring us back to the ‘Market in the Park’,” said Dave Rudell, owner of Southampton Olive Oil. “Our thanks go out to our many customers for their support. We will be back June 27.”