Wild Ramp has record month
HUNTINGTON -- The Wild Ramp, a local food hub which recently took over the market building at Central City, is a nonprofit business.
But that doesn't mean its employees and volunteers don't get excited when the organization has its best sales month in its two-year history.
The group, which keeps 10 percent of what it sells for operational costs and returns 90 percent to the farmers and artisans who create the products, returned $35,429 to its producers in June. That's $11,000 more than it returned at the same time last year, and is a high watermark for the business that opened in Heritage Station in 2012.
"We're thrilled to death," said Gail Patton, a member of the Wild Ramp's board of directors. "We've got lots of foot traffic coming in and things are looking good."
The Wild Ramp was chosen by the city of Huntington to occupy the Central City Market building in an effort to help revitalize the commercial district along 14th Street West. The historic West End business district has featured numerous antique stores and shops for many years, but city officials are hoping to do more to bring tourism and development to the area.
It would appear city officials made the right choice.
The Wild Ramp, which offers locally produced goods six days a week year round, almost immediately outgrew its location in Heritage Station, but those affiliated with the group said there were some nerves about moving to Central City.
"We had some naysayers about the move," said Market Manager Shelly Keeney. "Right now I'm really confident we made the right decision and I'm thankful to the city for giving us the opportunity."
The Wild Ramp opened at the Central City location in late May.
Keeney said the market is a bit more visible in its new location, which sits where Interstate 64 exits into Huntington from the 17th Street Bridge.
Other factors that have contributed to greater success include providing food for the Facing Hunger Foodbank and the Central City Farmers Market, which conducts business on Thursdays and Saturdays behind the Wild Ramp building.
"Our loyal customers definitely followed us, and a lot of our new customers are people from the neighborhood," Keeney said. "They haven't had anything like this where a local market is open six days a week all year.
"Plus, there's our volunteers. I think they're really good with the customers and they make the whole thing work."
The Wild Ramp has three paid employees, and the rest of the work is entirely provided by volunteers.
Since its inception, the food hub has paid out $463,655 to local farmers and artisans.
The Wild Ramp will celebrate its second anniversary Friday, July 11, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Follow reporter Ben Fields on Twitter @BenFieldsHD.
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