SPRING HILL — In just their third week of operation, Jodi Parresol and Desiree Canora of the Hernando County Farmers Market thought they had it made.
Attendance was great, and they had just signed up their 69th vendor for today's event.
But Parresol said she got a call Thursday evening from the property manager of Western Way Plaza, telling her that cars would be towed if the organizers continued holding the farmers market on the patch of land they leased behind the Walgreens on Cortez Boulevard at Mariner Boulevard.
It was a shock to Parresol and her partners, who had secured a lease weeks earlier with property owner Jim Kimbrough. But apparently, the agreement didn't include use of the parking lot operated by Isram Realty, the South Florida firm that manages the shopping plaza.
"We just thought it was part of the deal," said Parresol, who added that she was told that some of the shopping center tenants had complained that the market was interfering with their businesses.
Adam Rikman, chief operating officer of Isram Realty, declined to comment on the matter.
For now, the weekly market has a temporary home. Spring Hill veterinarian Dr. Deborah Rodriguez offered the women the use of a 2-acre parcel behind her business, Animal Health Veterinary Clinic, on Jacqueline Road. The parcel is about two blocks north of the original location.
"It's been a godsend," said Canora. "We probably couldn't have done it on such short notice otherwise."
On Friday, Canora, Parresol and some other friends spent the morning trimming a grassy area where about 70 vendors are expected to set up today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
According to Parresol, the market has been a success so far and has attracted vendors of fresh produce, prepared foods, and heirloom plants and seeds, as well as crafts and other hand-made items.
"People tell us they love it," Parresol said. "All we want to do is bring something fun to the community and provide a place where small business owners can make a little money. I don't see us as a threat to anyone."
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.