Italian Market seeking new curbside stand vendors

Right now about half of the 160 curbside stands in 9th Street’s “Italian Market” are empty, but this year expect to see some of the vacant spots between Christian and Federal streets fill up with new vendors.

As we reported in November, the city turned over management of the stands to the 9th Street Business Association on January 1. This month the Association started to accept applications from prospective vendors and hopes to see new stands open for business in April.

Applications will be juried on a rolling basis by the Association’s Stand Committee starting this month.

“We’re kinda interested to see what kind of businesses want to be down here,” said Michele Gambino, business manager for the South 9th Street Business Association. “It’s a great opportunity to start a small business, a very low-cost model.”

The monthly rent per stand (10 feet long by 36 inches wide) is $300. Vendors can apply for up to four stands, and must have appropriate city and state licenses. There is a refundable $200 application fee.

The Association hopes to attract new vendors that will complement the existing mix of businesses already on South 9th Street. Food is, of course, the overwhelming focus of the curbside market. Gambino said that organic produce vendors and craft food businesses were identified by the Association as good fits for new vendors. Other types of artisanal businesses are also encouraged to apply.

So far there are six viable applicants, said Gambino. Those came in really because of word of mouth, and a bit of press coverage last year about the change in management.

“We’re going to do an initial callout, on social media and our website” to help spread the word, Gambino explained. Currently there is no information about stand rental on the Association’s website or social media pages soliciting applications for a curbside stand, but Gambino gave the application materials to us to share. (See below.)

The Stand Committee, which is evaluating the applications, is made of business owners but Gambino said that residents could offer input too.

“If there was a neighbor who wanted to sit on the committee, if a neighbor would step up, that would be awesome,” she said.

In other good news: The Association is applying for grant funding for regular street cleaning, which would help improve the public environment of the market.

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