Fredericton — Social media was aflame today after several patrons of the Fredericton FARMERS market discovered that the business was owned and operated by the Costco Wholesale Corporation.
Among the revelations was that all the market’s produce is transported by bus from Costco’s main Fredericton branch to their downtown location every Saturday, which accounts for the inflated prices of the foodstuffs.
“I always shopped at the market for the local organic produce, it just tasted bett–” said frequent shopper Jenna Cook, before catching herself. “I’m sorry, it’s a force of habit. I don’t know what to believe anymore.”
Costco does, however, produce soaps, jewelry and other trinkets exclusively for the market location to give it its own “unique flavour,” said Don Thomas, general manager of Costco’s Fredericton location.
“We’ve always had a blast doing it,” said Thomas. “For us, It’s like having a world fair every weekend.”
According to Thomas, Costco employees dress up in costumes so they can portray specially created characters to run the market’s vendors.
“We thought it would be fun add a little theatre to the whole thing,” he said. “So we came up with some characters to go with each little station — like Mark, the grumpy samosa guy, or Sandra, the flirty maple-syrup sales girl. I feel it makes our location stand out from the other Costco marketplaces.”
As it turns out, Costco has built several similarly maintained and operated markets throughout Canada in an effort to shed their “big business” image and to serve their customers in “a more personal and intimate fashion.”
In response to the controversy, Costco’s Canadian manager Andree Brien gave the following statement:
“We had thought that it was clear that ‘FARMERS’ in ‘The Fredericton FARMERS Market’ was an acronym for ‘Favourably Arranged and Regulated Maritime Edibles and Recreation Stop.’ Of course, we wanted a name that conveyed the rustic feeling that we were going for with this project, which is why we came up with that particular wording, but our ownership of the market was never intended to be a secret.”
“Frankly,” she said, “we’re shocked that people have found this misleading. We’ve always believed it was pretty self-evident.”