New streetcar line drives market biz, sez vendor

Barb Cooper and her husband operate a fresh produce and specialty shop called Daisy Mae’s Market at Findlay Market and launched Cincinnati Food Tours in 2012 to introduce visitors to Findlay Market, share culinary experiences and spread her enthusiasm for Over-the-Rhine. She says some stores have reported a 30 percent increase in sales since the streetcar started traversing Cincinnati’s streets.

“The excitement around it is just amazing. Most of the people that are coming on my tours live in the suburbs and they’ve heard about the streetcar. They’ve heard about Over-the-Rhine’s revitalization, and they really need somebody to help them navigate it to see what’s really here,” Cooper said.

Findlay Market vendor claims streetcar is behind booming business – Story

 

Here is a link to other posts about Cincinnati’s Findlay Market from this blog. Here is a post on my French Quarter blog comparing the French Quarter to the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood where Findlay and the new streetcar sit.

 

West Side Market adds another day… …and some disagreement

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As many of my readers know, I spent my early years in the west suburbs of Cleveland. Like many of us, I occasionally trucked over to the West Side Market to buy special items or to soak up the atmosphere-actually, maybe the right word is rarely.

Luckily for me, I moved to the nearby Tremont neighborhood while a poor community organizer in the 1980s and 1990s and had more access to the market. My friends and I used the market quite regularly, as without it gas stations and a very dirty grocery store many dangerous blocks from us were our available shopping outlets. As we became regulars, many of the WSM vendors shared their end of day produce with us at a lower price or even threw in some items with our purchase. Later on, my nephew worked there while a teenager with a pal of my sister’s and since he had to be at work in the pre-dawn hours on the weekends moving meat up and down the stairs, now knows what hard work looks and feels like.

So for those reasons I keep up on the news from this market so closely and why changes to it remain deeply personal to me. The changes that are being made, like paid parking and more days open, sound like they are to support the nearby businesses around the market more than those within the market- not that there is anything inherently wrong with that, just that it seems like the city is mostly responding to external pressures. I will say however, that for a public market to be closed on Sundays has always surprised me. I’d have preferred to see Mondays and Tuesdays as their dark days.

Achieving balance between the needs of the neighborhood and of the vendors and shoppers is the most important task and, as any market organizer knows, is a delicate dance. Some of the comments in these articles from the vendors are implying a purely political reason for this change, others are willing to believe this is a good marketing idea in a constantly changing retail environment while still others are intractable in not changing the tradition of Sunday hours and even believe that it will only dilute Saturdays sales. (That may very well be a valid point that I will of course answer with they should be collecting data on their shoppers to know and be able to answer that question.) Shoppers’ opinions tend to line up on more days are better, which is certainly understandable. The parking woes that exist currently for shoppers are likely a large reason for people staying away and so more days open may solve that issue temporarily, but probably not permanently.

I think what is missing in the announcements is the clear plan for this market and for these vendors by the management and advisors. Is the WSM becoming part of the cafe/entertainment culture that has grown up around it and therefore expected to primarily serve it? Or is the WSM part of the robust local food culture in Cleveland and meant to align itself with those values? Or do the operators see the WSM as an anchor for small business in and of itself?

As a traditional shed market, a primary purpose must be defined and acted upon in their decision-making process because unlike pop up (open-air) markets, it cannot move and/or redefine itself easily. It must constantly draw people to its bulk through changing times and offer enough regular return to those permanent stall vendors who have also invested in shared infrastructure.

How this change was handled in Cincinnati at the Findlay Market  a few years back seemed unfortunate and led to a very public argument that meant the market had some bad vibes around it for a little while, but indications show that the changes there may have helped their growth. However, it is important to recognize that the entire area around Findlay is seeing increased vibrancy with millennials and urbanists repopulating  OTR and downtown and so this success may have little to do with its added hours. I do think the management and supporters did some great work supporting that expansion.

Certainly, there it is difficult or even impossible to achieve full agreement for almost any decision made by a market organization, but collecting data and using it to redefine the market’s mission and understand its context historically, now and for the future will help make the right decision clearer.

And yes, I’ll shop on Sundays rather than Saturdays whenever I am back in Cleveland to leave my Saturdays for the direct marketing farmers markets around town.

http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2016/03/west_side_market_will_add_sund.html

http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2010/10/changes_considered_for_histori.html

NOLa ‘food port’ Roux Carré opened Nov. 27 

I’m a big fan of the entity that operates this project in Central City. What is interesting on a sytem level is that, just like another neighborhood in town, there are actually two different projects focused on food access there. (In the other neighborhood you can view St. Roch Market and Mardi Gras Zone to see what I mean. And compare the NOLA Food Coop for good measure, as all three are within 8-9 blocks of each other.)

On OCH, the Roux Carre project shares the street with another project that I wrote of recently, the Dryades Public Market. On paper, it might seem that these two have a lot in common, but in reality I think how they were formed, and by whom and what items they sell are quite different. I plan on spending some time there this month to check them both out and will post some pictures.

And how do you like the term “food port”?

Caribbean, Latin and Southern-inspired food court on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard

Each vendor has a 175-square-foot “pod” to set up its operation, and a retractable window opens into the space from where they can sell their food. A large, industrial-size communal kitchen includes ovens, a flat grill, stoves and prep space and storage.

By getting low-cost and low-overhead entry, aspiring restaurant owners are able to build a following for their food while receiving training in food service, retailing, accounting and payroll. There is no limit to how long a vendor may stay at the location, although Cassidy suspects most want to take off on their own eventually.

“It’s really an incubator for these small businesses,” Cassidy says. “They’re all really good cooks; we want them to learn how to really run a restaurant, so, if they want, they can leave here and do that.”

Source: Central City ‘food port’ Roux Carré opens Nov. 27 | Blog of New Orleans | Gambit – New Orleans News and Entertainment

Marché international de Rungis

Here’s a sneak peek inside Paris’ massive market with 450 types of cheese and more.

You’ll also notice a box of carrots, scrubbed clean, but then sprinkled with a fine dusting of dirt for aesthetic reasons — to reflect the increased demand for organic products. “Parisians buy with their eyes,” one vendor explains.

You can find everything at Rungis, even exotic foodstuffs like ostrich, zebra and crocodile. Interestingly, you’ll never see prices displayed at Rungis as they’re negotiated based on the buyer-seller relationship.

Traceability is really important — you know exactly where your products are coming from — and trailblazing initiatives include an impressive recycling program which provides energy and heating for Orly airport.

Beyond the magnificent goods, you’ll marvel at the work culture. Just under 12,000 people work at Rungis and it’s a jovial, jolly place. Folks love what they do, and you can see merchants socializing over coffee or verres de vin (glasses of wine) in the early morning hours. In fact, the café Saint-Aubert outside the poultry pavilion sells the most cups of coffee in France: 3,000 a day.

Source: Marché international de Rungis

For Children Impoverished at Least a Year, Food Stamps Provide Critical Stability 

Ratcliffe’s research has shown that a secure environment is incredibly important. Analyzing 40 years’ worth of data, Ratcliffe found that many children cycle in and out of poverty and that 1 in 10 is persistently poor, spending at least half their childhood below the poverty line. Persistently poor children have substantially worse outcomes as adults and growing up in disadvantaged neighborhoods, moving a lot, or having parents with lower educational achievement can further affect poor children’s chances at success. SNAP and other benefits, however, can help stabilize families, priming children to break out of the cycle of poverty.

Source: For Children Impoverished at Least a Year, Food Stamps Provide Critical Stability | Community Commons

“Creative placemaking? What is it that you do?”

Great article linked below along with a salient excerpt about placemaking which is something all market organizations should know a little about.

We essentially believe that a creative placemaking project needs to have four basic parts:

First, the work needs to be ultimately place-based, meaning that there is a group of people who live and work in the same place. It can be a block, a neighborhood, a town, a city, or a region, but you need to be able to draw a circle around it on a map.

Next, you need to talk about the community conditions for all of the people who live in that place and identify some community development change that that group of people would like to see: a problem with housing that needs to be fixed; an opportunity with a new transportation infrastructure that needs to be seized; a problematic narrative around public safety that needs to be changed. (There are ten categories of community development changes that we currently track.)

Third is when the “creative” comes into play: how can artists, arts organizations, or arts activity help achieve the change that has been articulated for this group of people?

And, finally, since these are projects that explicitly set out to make a change, there needs to be a way of knowing whether the change has happened. Some people call this “project evaluation.” We simply say it is important to know when you can stop doing something, cross it off your list, and move on to the next thing.

"Creative placemaking? What is it that you do?" | ArtPlace.