Kelly Dykstra called wanting to participate in the Cedar Lake Farmers Market and ended up organizing and operating the event over the last three years. From 25 to now a maximum of 130 vendors the Cedar Lake Farmers Market has grown significantly through the passion Kelly has for business success and helping others achieve their dreams.
LOCAL 219: Hi Kelly! First question: was it hobbies, your childhood or circumstances that led you to this role as the owner?
KELLY DYKSTRA: I would have to answer there was a little bit of each. Early on in my childhood I was always encouraged by my parents and other family members when I made things such as bracelets on the playground at school or, once I got older, and started making hair bows. I always had lots of people cheering me on.
By 12 years old, I was in my first craft show and I sold hair bows that people paid money for, which I was excited about. It gave me a little glimpse as to what being an entrepreneur was all about at a super young age.
L219: It sounds like you were creative at a young age and had a solid support system. Having people believe in us makes a world of difference.
KD: Fast forward to the future, I called the Town of Cedar Lake and asked if they had a farmer’s market to participate in and they told me they did not. I told them I had been doing research that day and was learning about different markets that were going on in lake towns throughout Indiana and thought it would be awesome if we had one also. About 20 minutes later I received a call back and they asked me if I would like to be in charge of something like that.
L219: What an opportunity! I may have been a bit intimated by that big of a project. How did you feel about them asking you?
KD: I didn’t know if I would have any type of skill set for that in that moment but quickly, I learned that the Lord had something really amazing in store for me and gave me a wonderful group of vendors to work with which grew very fast. At our very first market in 2019 we started with 25 vendors which grew to 50 vendors by the end of the season. We started our next season at around 100 and right now we’ve maxed out at about 130.
L219: That’s quite an increase! I know a ton of people come out to check out what everyone’s selling. Thank goodness you stepped up! What gets you out of bed in the morning? What gets you excited for the day?
Knowing there are going to be people who I interact with throughout the day, either through messages, texting, phone calls or in-person, who are going to need help growing their businesses. When other people ask me for advice it brings me a lot of joy to be able to help them.
I love seeing the growth that so many have had throughout the years. I love that people trust me for advice and would like my opinion on different things business oriented.
L219: It’s obvious to them you’re doing something right! Who has been the greatest influence in your life?
KD: I would have to say, as far as affecting my business, probably my parents.
I grew up in a home where my dad owned his own business and I saw what an entrepreneur life was like from a very young age.
At a young age my dad would let me ride along with him in his truck as he did estimates and I always had my little pad of paper and pen. I would pretty much just copy whatever he was doing and I just loved it. I loved hanging out with him and just being able to see what he did each day.
L219: What sweet memories to look back on. I love that the invited you to join him while working. What has been one of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
KD: I cannot please everybody although I am a people pleaser and I do like to make everyone happy. I know that’s not possible.
L219: So true! Happiness is a decision, as well as frustration, and unfortunately some people tend to choose dissatisfaction regardless of your actions. What do you enjoy most about what you do?
KD: I really like being able to come along side small business and help them grow. It’s so much fun seeing them grow from the first time I meet them, when they’re trying to figure out how to set up their display, but then each week it gets better and better.
Some have even gone on to have their own brick and mortar stores and aren’t even doing farmer’s markets anymore. When I see that, my job is done, as far as supporting them enough to get a start in the beginning and giving them a place to network with other small businesses.