With the growing trend toward buying locally grown foods and produce, ChoiceOne Bank has been at the forefront in support of this effort for a number of years. Jim Bosserd, President and CEO of ChoiceOne Bank advanced the effort by providing a location to host the Sparta Farmers Market. The Sparta Farmers Market opened seven years ago. In 2009, Bosserd established ChoiceOne Bank’s relationship with the market by offering use of its employee parking lot for the market each week. Sparta’s Farmers Market opened this year on June 13 and will stay open until September 25.
“Our ChoiceOne Bank employees vacate the parking lot every Wednesday for the day,” explained Bosserd. “They shop at the market, tell our customers about the market, and they inform our customers — who are farmers and growers in the area — of the opportunities to set up at the farmers market.”
Bosserd went on to explain that the goal of community banks is to help educate consumers on the benefits of building a more sustainable local community. “Community banks have always helped local farmers and small businesses grow their businesses,” Bosserd noted. “By banking, shopping and dining locally, we can make a big impact on the fabric of our local communities, all while helping to build strong local economies. It means more local jobs and that is the bottom line today.”
Bosserd added that community banks, including ChoiceOne Bank, have consistently been a provider of agricultural credit within the commercial banking sector for hundreds of years. “We have the added advantage of being able to help our agricultural and small business customers with the unique dynamics of their local marketplace, helping them through good and bad times, because we live here and experience all this, too.”