The Cross Roads Farm and Craft Market in Westfield is open again for its thirteenth season. Cross Roads draws thousands of regional tourists and locals each year to provide a powerful marketing tool for the county as well as drawing much needed revenue to other area businesses. This year has shown a lot of promise for the Cross Roads Market and it is becoming a new shopping alternative for families in the area.
The Cross Roads Market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the months of May to December. The market is also open during Memorial Day, Labor Day and Black Friday.
For the past two years, families across the country have been embracing the “stay-cation” and “buy local” movements.
Chautauqua County’s economy, which is driven significantly by tourism from visitors outside the area, has seen a decline in traffic as a whole. Even the county’s local wineries and bed and breakfasts have seen a reduction in numbers because people don’t want to travel as far from home to enjoy their recreational time due to rising gas costs. The Cross Roads Market in Westfield, however, has not been affected by this change in traveling climate.
“People still want to visit us and continue to make us a part of their summer travel plans,” said Mark Pouthier, Manager of the Cross Roads Market. “We offer unique things you can’t find anywhere else. The handmade goods you can buy here are quality items that our customers have shown they are willing to travel for,” he said.
The market hosts over 30 unique shops featuring woodwork, wine, cheeses, candles and more. Cross Roads has become known as a ‘mall-ternative’ to many of their regular customers and provides a breath of fresh air from the clustered, commercial malls and shopping centers people are accustomed to.
“We have even begun incorporating events into the regular Cross Roads schedule,” said Pouthier, “and every year we host a popular chili cook-off in October and various yard sale events. We are even looking into creating a classic car show for the future.”
The Cross Roads Market appeals to a broad demographic because there are shops inside the market for people of all ages. It has become a very trendy destination for a lot of Chautauqua County families because of the short drive from major cities like Dunkirk and Jamestown.
One of the more popular vendors at Cross Roads is Grape Country Candles. The original candle shop is located in Sheridan, New York, but it also has a satellite store in the Cross Roads Market. Grape Country Candles sells highly fragrant soy wax candles and has seen a drastic increase in business in the years it has spent at the market.
“I can’t tell you how beneficial this market has been for my business,” said Marcie Martin, owner of Grape Country Candles. “This atmosphere is so fun and the market collectively exposes my business and others to visitors from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Erie and Buffalo,” said Martin. Grape Country Candles has been a Cross Roads vendor for five years. While many of the vendors are from Chautauqua County, several of them even travel from Pennsylvania and the greater Buffalo area because of the boost they see in business.
The Cross Roads Market continues to serve as a small business incubator for the county. Created in 1998 and starting out with two buildings, the market was situated on an historic part of land along the Portage Trail connecting Chautauqua Lake to Lake Erie. The land now houses three vendor buildings and a state-of-the-art eco-friendly restroom facility. The area was inhabited by the first settlers to Chautauqua County and remains an historic landmark on the escarpment separating two major watersheds.