Barber in on fresh produce market planned for Salisbury

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 25, 2011

By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — Rowan County Commissioner Jon Barber is starting a new Salisbury business next weekend with three other county residents.
The year-round produce market called My Farm Fresh MarketPlace, located at 3402 S. Main St, will hold a grand opening from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m Saturday.
Hot dogs, barbecue and other refreshments will be available on opening day.
Barber said the market will sell fruits, vegetables, meats, canned goods and other items. Whenever possible, it will use local suppliers for in-season produce.
“We want to support the local community and the local economy,” Barber said. “It keeps the money here.”
He said his business won’t compete with farmers markets but complement them, because it gives shoppers more chances to buy healthy, locally grown foods.
“It gives people something similar to a year-round farmers market,” Barber said. “They can come to us, or we can come to them.”
Customers will be able to go to the business’ website to see what’s available and make orders, he said. For an extra charge, they can have it delivered right to their homes.
Barber is joining his father, Bill Barber Jr., in the venture along with two other partners, Dan Fisher and Joseph Emmons.
Fisher, who lives in Salisbury, used to own Carolina Truck Center in Charlotte and worked in the truck business for 18 years. Now, he said he is using his transportation experience to help with the delivery side of the new business.
Emmons, also a Salisbury resident, is a wholesale supplier. Fisher said a retail market is a natural extension of Emmons’ work, and as the business grows, it will be able to supply more restaurants and stores.
“From all the reaction that I’ve seen and heard, it just seems to be something that’s needed,” Fisher said. “The restaurant people we’ve talked to are really tickled about us expanding the wholesale business.”
My Farm Fresh MarketPlace is still looking to partner with different kinds of local growers and producers, Barber said.
The store will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. It will be closed on Sundays.
Barber said the new venture has been in the works for about a year. The business really started coming together several months ago, he said, and the partners just signed the lease on their downtown building in early September.
Previously, Barber worked as a teacher at Southeast Middle School until he resigned in May 2010, saying he was “pursuing other opportunities.”
Barber denied allegations that he was drunk in a classroom full of sixth-grade students.
He did admit to a problem with alcohol, and late this spring, Barber attended an inpatient rehabilitation program for alcoholism.
In August, he pleaded guilty to driving drunk when he wrecked his car in May. It was Barber’s second driving while impaired guilty plea since 2008.
A visiting judge sentenced him to two years unsupervised probation even though prosecutors asked for jail time.
Barber has another court case tentatively set for Oct. 4, which also will be heard by a visiting judge.
In June, the State Bureau of Investigation charged Barber with the April 10 larceny of a $2.99 bottle of wine from a Rushco convenience store on Jake Alexander Boulevard.
Since his resignation last year, Barber said, he has been focusing on his family farm in Mount Ulla and agricultural projects like My Farm Fresh Market.
He said he hopes to expand into other areas, including selling — and possibly growing — organic food, once the market gets going.
Barber, his father and Fisher set up a table at the Rowan County Agricultural and Industrial Fair this past week to introduce people to their new business.
“We’re very excited,” Barber said. “We’ve received very positive feedback about it from people in the community.”
For more information, visit email or call Jon Barber at 704-223-1637.