Madison Public Market Foundation Receives $4 Million Neighborhood Investment Fund Grant


Governor Tony Evers, at an event held on February 24, announced that the City of Madison will receive $6 million and Dane County will receive nearly $15 million as part of the Neighborhood Investment Fund grant program. Of the amount provided to the City, $4 million is designated towards the creation of the proposed Madison Public Market. The funds were made available by the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and are intended to assist local governments and nonprofits working to restore economic activity in Wisconsin following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the Governor’s statement, these funds will be used for community development projects that expand affordable housing, bolster economic, social, and cultural opportunities, and support business development and entrepreneurship. Other Grant recipients include the Black Business Hub, the Center for Black Excellence & Culture, Bayview Foundation and Centro Hispano.

“We are especially pleased that funding has been made available for the proposed Madison Public Market, and that this shovel-ready project has been recognized by the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration as an important business development endeavor, working to restore economic activity following the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jamaal Stricklin, Madison Public Market Foundation board chair. 

The proposed Madison Public Market is a collaboration between the City of Madison, which owns the former Fleet Services Building at First Street and East Johnson Street, and the Madison Public Market Foundation, which will operate the Market at that location. The Public Market is a vital food and equity-based economic development initiative that is mission-driven to create jobs and new businesses, and to establish an iconic welcoming destination for all. 

Stricklin adds, “The Public Market will be a real boost to the regional economy and will benefit substantially from these construction-related funds. Most importantly, we look forward to creating new business development opportunities for regional food entrepreneurs and crafts persons, with an emphasis on those owned and operated by people of color, women, and first generation immigrants. We are thankful that this new funding source will bring us closer to our financial goal, resulting in a market that is welcoming for both visitors to the city as well as local residents looking for a regular shopping or dining experience.”

The City of Madison, led by Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and the economic development team, have been essential and invaluable partners to the Madison Public Market Foundation in bringing the Market to fruition.  

As reported in a Wisconsin State Journal article covering the Governor’s announcement, the City is prepared to move forward with the Market’s construction. “The market’s financing piece is now “locked in,” said Matt Wachter, city planning, community and economic director. The city can now pursue a construction contract, contracts with the operator, the Madison Public Market Foundation, and seek other final approvals for the project, he said.

“With this funding, we will be breaking ground this year in November,” said Madison Public Market Foundation board member Anne Reynolds. “There’s been so much uncertainty over the past two years, but now we finally have some certainty. It’s really exciting. We are confident that the Market will be a cultural jewel, showcasing the very best of our diverse food history, arts, music and crafts.”

Annually, the Market will attract 500,000+ visitors, support 130 new and existing local businesses through permanent and temporary vending space and generate $16 – $20 million in local sales. 

The former Fleet Services Building at 202 N. First Street is a 1960s era industrial garage ideally designed and sized for the proposed Market activities. As the final pieces of funding are secured and the necessary City of Madison approvals occur, the building is expected to begin transitioning to Public Market development activity later this year. Market construction is expected to begin in late 2022, with an anticipated opening in late 2023.

More than 200 businesses have completed the Vendor Interest Form to express desire to operate within the Public Market. Some are well-established local businesses interested in the Public Market as a new location to grow their enterprise. Several prospective vendors are interested in a larger space for a restaurant, a bakery, a larger retail space, or food production facility. 

The Public Market’s proposed Food Innovation Center will offer new and existing small busineses affordable space as well as access to specialized food preparation, packaging and distribution facilities. New food product testing can easily be arranged by offering samples to Market visitors. The Food Innovation Center will be a complementary space operating in support of existing commercial kitchens available to small businesses. 

 

Year End Update: 2022 will be the year that our Public Market breaks ground!


Friends,

As we look ahead to a new year, we are more hopeful than ever that our Public Market will FINALLY become a reality in Madison. We can’t thank you enough, donors and friends, for continuing to support and believe in this exciting project.

Our progress continues toward a groundbreaking in fall of 2022. Our forward momentum includes:

  • New community supporters: Despite the challenges, the community continues to help us move the Market forward. We’ve received support from a variety of generous corporate and philanthropic leaders in 2021. (see below)
  • State funding opportunities: Both the City of Madison and the Madison Public Market Foundation submitted grants for WI recovery funding. Because of construction delays and other unforeseen challenges, the project has a funding gap that can be mostly filled by these opportunities.
  • Federal EDA grant: Throughout 2021, City staff have been meeting with representatives at EDA to secure this important federal funding. We expect a final award in early 2022.
  • Weekly progress: For the last year, the City of Madison staff and Madison Public Market Foundation have been meeting every week to keep the project moving forward. We greatly appreciate our wonderful team at the City.

We are so close to putting shovels in the ground, and it’s critical that we are successful. We continue to receive requests for affordable space in the Market, as businesses struggle and look for options.

Together, we can build a community-focused iconic destination that celebrates the best of Madison, supports 100+ small businesses every year, and puts minority-owned businesses front and center.

If you haven’t already, please consider the Market for your seasonal giving. The more folks who join with us, the sooner we can open the doors.

Happy Holidays and New Year!
Jamaal Stricklin, Chair
Madison Public Market Foundation

Judge’s Ruling re: Homeless Shelter Bodes Well for Market’s Progress


The City of Madison has been hosting a men’s homeless shelter in the former Fleet Services building since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Recently, the Common Council approved the purchase of a vacant big box location on Zeier Road, near East Towne. The City intends to use this site as a temporary location for the men’s shelter and continues to search for a permanent location. A private lawsuit was filed seeking to prevent the re-location of the homeless shelter to the Zeier Road site. In a favorable development for the commencement of Market construction, slated for fall 2022, a judge has declined to halt the City’s plans for the temporary shelter, allowing the City to proceed with their temporary shelter plans. Read the Madison.com article describing the details of the lawsuit and the judge’s decision.

 

Small Business Spotlight: Melly Mel’s owner prepares for permanent storefront at Public Market


Please take a moment to watch this wonderful spotlight on Carmel Jackson and her dream of being a Public Market vendor. We are so enamored with her dedication to the Market and love of great food.

Small Business Spotlight: Melly Mel’s owner prepares for permanent storefront 6 years after closing original restaurant

Channel 3000: Madison Public Market remains on track to open in 2023, despite site’s current use as homeless shelter


Special thanks to Channel 3 / Channel 3000 for their feature story of October 12. The reporter notes that the Madison Public Market, more than 15 years in the making, remains on track to open by fall 2023, and the Fleet Buiding’s current use as a temporary men’s homeless shelter will not change that timeline. Read the article and watch the video on the station’s webpage.

Isthmus Article: Steadfast despite setbacks


“Supporters of the Madison Public Market say construction will begin next fall” is the sub-headline in the October 11 online article published by Isthmus. Written by Jane Burns, the current status of the proposed Madison Public Market is discussed. The article gives insight into Carmel Jackson’s up and down journey as a someday vendor and the role the City of Madison has taken in helping the Market come to fruition. While the impact of COVID has been substantial, the article notes that we may finally be on our way to starting construction as planned.

We hope you find the article to be both interesting and informative.

Kavanaugh Restaurant Supply is a Valued Public Market Supporter


Over the years, we’ve had wonderful support from many local businesses. Family owned and operated Kavanaugh’s Restaurant Supply continues to be a strong supporter of the Market and so many other important community organizations throughout Dane County. We’ve been fortunate to have had kitchen supplies and equipment donated to the Market, and for an extended period of time, Kavanaugh’s has both moved and stored that equipment. It’s a very valuable donation and is sincerely appreciated. And by the way, if you haven’t visited Kavanaugh Restaurant Supply, you really should! They have a great selection of cooking tools and fun kitchen supplies that will make your home-based culinary experiences even better. Thanks to Kristi and the whole team!

MarketReady Program Participants in the Media Spotlight


Previous blogs on this page have described the activities of the MarketReady Program. Sponsored by the City of Madison and administered by the Northside Planning Council on behalf of the Madison Public Market, MarketReady provides training, supportive services and micro-grants for entrepreneurs interested in becoming Market vendors. Program recipients are typically individuals from groups facing historic barriers to entrepreneurship, including low income, immigrants, women, displaced workers, veterans and LGBTQ individuals.

MarketReady staff provide hours of individual and group-based guidance, mentorship and other hands-on support to the new business owners. Many are becoming successful beyond their dreams, and the local media is taking notice. During the last month or so, MarketReady vendors were featured in print, online, on television, and in podcasts.

Kristina Abasso and her Abasso Market Deli venture was featured in the Capital Times Bright Ideas of 2018 series. The article Bright Ideas 2018: Open a vegan Native American deli describes her public market plans for a plant-based deli featuring tribal sourced ingredients.

Donale Richards was also featured in the same series. Bright Ideas 2018: Listen to kids, especially those facing barriers describes his upbringing in Madison as well as his journey through UW and current role with Mentoring Positives. This organization is the driving force behind Off the Block Salsa, a local favorite and potential Public Market vendor.

SuperCharge! Foods, located across First Street from the proposed Madison Public Market site, was written up on the Capital Times front page and featured in a podcast. Read about their success in The Big Squeeze: Madison juice bars get in on cleansing kick. The Corner Table podcast with Jamaal Strickland, SuperCharge! sales director, is also a fun listen. SuperCharge! Foods is now providing goods to a juice bar vendor in the Milwaukee Public Market. This will help them get a sense for future demand at the Madison Public Market.

Jasmine Banks and her Perfect Imperfections body care products company was the subject of the Isthmus article Perfect Imperfections presents a healthy alternative in body care. The current product line includes deodorant, lip balm, body oil, natural scrubs whipped body butter and more.

Monica O’Connell of Curtis & Cake takes the cake with a double whammy in media attention. Her wedding cakes were showcased in Brava Magazine and she also enjoyed a Wisconsin Life feature video produced by Wisconsin Public Television.

Please reach out to these and other MarketReady participants to wish them well. Even if they have not received media attention recently, they deserve your encouragement and support.

Thanks!

Holiday Taste of the Madison Public Market draws over 400 attendees!


Earlier this month, the Madison Public Market Foundation hosted the Madison Public Market Holiday Magic celebration, which drew over 400 people.

Attendees were regaled with edible, wearable, sniff-able and show-off- able wares, made by vendors with a particular interest in the proposed Madison Public Market. A highlight of the evening was a chance for a photo with that bearded wonder, Santa Claus (also known as Mike Miller!) Held at Curt Brink’s vacant, eclectic space at 945 East Washington Avenue, the event was not far from the proposed location of the permanent Public Market at First & East Washington Ave.

The Holiday Magic event was the second Market preview event this year, with the first Taste of the Madison Public Market event drawing over 700 people in early October. Both provided attendees with a taste, literally, of what will be experienced at our Public Market.  The vision is for the Madison Public Market to become a significant economic driver, jump starting local food and handmade goods businesses, specifically in multicultural communities. Early-stage businesses will flourish in the Public Market through a built-in customer base, affordable rents, and support services. The market will also create opportunities for established food-based businesses. Building on Madison’s existing strengths and competitive advantages in the food industry, the market will help drive the growth of our local food economy.

The Public Market Holiday Celebration showcased those small businesses selected as MarketReady Program participants. The Madison Public Market’s MarketReady Program is an initiative sponsored by the City of Madison to provide training and micro-grants for new and existing small business entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds who are interested in becoming Madison Public Market vendors.

The City of Madison Economic Development Department, in association with the volunteer-staffed Public Market Development Committee, are currently in negotiation with a local development group to build out the Madison Public Market space at the First Street and East Washington Avenue. With the Public Market as the highlighted feature, this public/private partnership will also add 2 towers of apartment units, office space, and restaurant/retail space to the property. Our Public Market is still on-track for a late 2019 opening.

A huge thank you to Curt Brink for the use of his space at 945 and to Gorilla Movers of Wisconsin for sponsoring the event and saving us hundreds of dollars on moving tables!

To stay updated on Public Market events and happenings, join us on Facebook or our monthly e-Update list.

 

Small Business Saturday Makes a Big Difference for Local Entrepreneurs


Looking for something special for that special someone this holiday season? Tired of seeing Amazon and WalMart gobble up the local business economy, leaving empty storefronts across Main Street America?

Perhaps your best bet is to support your friends and neighbors by buying local on Small Business Saturday, this November 25th. Specialty body care products, children’s books, one-of-a kind arts and crafts, hand-made clothing and even treats for that furry, four-footed friend are readily available from a locally-owned or managed small business. These storefronts line State Street, Willy Street, Monroe Street, downtown Verona, Stoughton, Mount Horeb and communities throughout the region. You can find many of these vendors at #ShineOnMadison and #DaneBuyLocal. The right “Oh, my gosh!” gift is probably just down the street.

Small Business Saturday started in 2010 and has grown across the country to include shoppers like you and local businesses everywhere. In 2016, 112 million shoppers showed their support for local merchants, and spent a reported $15.4 billion.

The Madison Public Market is working to support local entrepreneurs in association with the MarketReady Program. The training program provides business training services and micro-grants to low income populations, people of color and other populations that face historic barriers to starting businesses, including displaced workers, women, veterans and immigrants. Many of the vendors accepted into the program are interested in becoming regular vendors at the Public Market. In fact, a number of MarketReady merchants have holiday items ranging from delicious cakes to beautiful gift items.

And if other plans get in your way and you can’t do your holiday shopping on Small Business Saturday, come on down to the next Taste of the Public Market event on December 6. Join us to experience some of the magic of the holiday season with the merchants and makers of your Public Market. Explore the traditions and customs of Madison’s many cultures through tasty treats and gifts for your loved ones.

Wednesday, December 6
5 – 8 pm
945 E. Washington Ave.

See you out and about, supporting your local businesses!