Heritage Meat and Brooklyn Taco Vacate Essex Market; EDC Blamed for Lack of Foot Traffic
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The Essex Street Market is reportedly experiencing a steep nosedive. While prospects of a shiny new location within Essex Crossing loom (across Delancey, in fact), businesses currently operating in the trusty old warehouse are suffering from lack of foot traffic.
According to recent reports, three vendors have expired since 2015 began. Year-old Essex Flowers closes in March; Heritage Meat Shop closed on Tuesday after four years; Brooklyn Taco left earlier this month after four years.
Vendors blame the Economic Development Corporation, which runs the longstanding Essex Market, for the loss of business. They claim the agency has done little to promote the neighborhood treasure.
Business owners have banded together to form the Essex Street Market Vendors Association as well as a working group made up of the association, the EDC, the LES BID and Community Board 3, but changes have still been slow, she said.
EDC spokesman Christopher Carroll said it was the agency’s goal “to cultivate a vibrant, inclusive and balanced market environment that benefits every member of the market community.”
“We look forward to continuing to work closely with the vendors to help them grow and thrive, and will continue to work with the local community to ensure that the Market remains a cornerstone of the Lower East Side,” he said in a statement.
An EDC official said the agency has been working to address vendors’ concerns and promote the market. It has been developing new banners for the building’s exterior and a social media strategy, as well as new brochures and a new website.
Given this recent trajectory, many of these stalls might not even be around to jump over to the 24-story building planned for Site 2. After all, a Rag-tag assemblage of working class businesses doesn’t fit. What works in a shiny new facility – upscale shops like the Chelsea Market. You’ll see.
It does beg the question whether EDC is letting the market stagnate to attain this outcome.