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.

Job Posting: Project Coordinator – Madison Public Market Foundation

Are you excited by the opportunity to be an integral part of moving the Madison Public Market from planning stages to opening? The Madison Public Market is looking for a community leader to be an integral part of Madison’s next great public space. In this role, you will help support the Foundation in its quest to bring the Market to fruition. As Project Coordinator, you will have a critical role working with Foundation board members, City of Madison staff, vendors, and others to make the Market a reality

You will work directly with the Foundation board, City of Madison, and other stakeholders to support Foundation efforts. The Madison Public Market Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, was created to lead the fundraising efforts and community engagement during the Public Market development phase. The Foundation will lead vendor selection, the employee hiring process, raise start-up funding, apply for grants, and work closely with the City of Madison on the architectural design.

A partial list of duties, responsibilities and qualifications is available here: Project Coordinator Job Description 9_15_21 FINAL.

This is a contract position with no benefits. This position allows for approximately 10-20 hours per week. Schedule is flexible and requires some weeknight and weekend activities. Hourly rate $15-$18/hr. depending on experience.

Please email resume and cover letter to Deadline to apply is 10/3. Applicants will be reviewed on a rolling basis. People of color, women, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply!


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.


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!

Madison Public Market preview event draws large, enthusiastic crowd


If the size of the crowd and the energy apparent is any indication, the proposed Madison Public Market will be a grand success. At the October 11 “A Taste of the Madison Public Market” preview event, the more than 600 people in attendance indulged in the incredible food and learned about some of the Market’s proposed offerings.

Twenty-some vendors, many who have been accepted into the MarketReady Program, offered samples of their culinary creations or sold hand crafted jewelry, clothing, decorative magnets and even pet treats. MarketReady is focused on providing training, supportive services and micro-grants for entrepreneurs interested in becoming Madison Public Market vendors. This group of new and accelerating business owners included Curtis & Cake, Perfect Imperfections, Yerba Madre, QB’s Magnetic Creations, Off the Block Salsa, Artesan Fruit, dZi Little Tibet Mobile Cuisine, Madame Chu, Ugly Apple, Libros for Kids, Books for Niños, and SuperCharge! Foods.

More established companies with an interest in a presence at the Market were also there, offering samples of their wares and products for sale. Included were Chocolate Shoppe, Slide Food Cart and Beyond Catering, Rushing Waters Fisheries, Grasshopper Goods and American Skillet Company, Mad Urban Bees, Cafe Social, Just Coffee!, and Aaron Laux Design.

Also on display was a demonstration area of the Food Innovation Center. The Center consists of 15,000 sq. feet of the overall Market and will play a significant role in increasing local food production, ultimately increasing local food options at schools, hospitals, and restaurants across our region. Thanks to our partner FEED Kitchens for managing the demonstration area.

Music was provided by DJ 40 Roundz through a sponsorship from Dane Dances. This was only a slight representation of the music, culture and art experiences planned for both the indoor and outdoor spaces at the completed market.

Amanda White, a fundraising consultant to the Madison Public Market project gave an update regarding the Market’s progress to date, sharing site plans and preliminary architectural concepts. She encouraged donations to be made to the Public Market project. We hope you might also consider supporting the market in this way.

The Madison Public Market is on track to be built in 2019 on the First Street and East Washington Avenue site. To learn more about the market and its ongoing progress visit the City of Madison’s Public Market page. To get a sense of the Market’s potential and flavor, visit the Madison Public Market website. We are also on Facebook. If you are interested in showcasing your business at a future Public Market event, mail us at and give us your contact info, name of your business, and a brief description. We’ll put you on the list for consideration for a future event.

Diversity of applicants to MarketReady program reinforces Public Market’s goals for inclusivity

Through the years, the Madison Public Market concept has gone through many changes. But one important, guiding principle has remained strong: ensure that the Market is a truly inclusive, welcoming place of community for all who reside and visit Madison. From the City of Madison, to the Friends of the Public Market group, to the newly created Madison Public Market Foundation, all supporters working on this project agree that inclusivity begins by ensuring that merchant opportunities are available to any person with a dream of starting their own food-based business. Thus, the MarketReady program was created to Encourage and stimulate the creation and acceleration of businesses owned and operated by women, persons of color, the economically disadvantaged and others in need of a new career path.

MarketReady is funded by the City of Madison and administered by the Northside Planning Council and FEED Kitchens, in partnership with the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation and Dane County UW Extension. They are actively working to provide training, supportive services and micro-grants for entrepreneurs interested in becoming Madison Public Market merchants.

Services Offered by the MarketReady Program include:

  • One-on-one business consulting services
  • Invitations to peer networking events
  • Referrals to other educational and financial services
  • Monthly mentorship meetings with a business coach
  • Additional technical assistance
  • Access to micro-grants

The application process for MarketReady closed on July 1 (you can still apply for the waiting list) with 83 applicants accepted for consideration. Extensive outreach to diverse communities was the key to successful recruitment of applicants. Outreach to these communities occurred in Spanish and Hmong and in association with the Urban League of Greater Madison and Centro Hispano, among others. The breakdown of applicant diversity includes:

  • 59% female
  • 29%  first generation immigrants
  • 29% African American
  • 18% Hispanic or Latino
  • 14% Asian

The primary objective is to provide business training and some initial capital to help prepare these new entrepreneurs for a successful launch in the Market in 2019. Thirty (30) businesses will receive direct assistance over a two year period to prepare them to sell at the market. Fifteen (15) will each receive $3,500 to help pay for initial business costs; five of those businesses will receive $13,000 to set up their market space in the Madison Public Market.

What might this variety of vendors offer to the Market’s visitors? Prepared food from Laotian, Tibetan, Venezuelan, Indian, Cajun and other cultural traditions; clothing from Africa and Asia; handcrafted artwork and more.

Watch for updates about the success of the MarketReady program in future blogs.

Minneapolis’ Midtown Global Market embraces a neighborhood of many cultures

Many aspects of our Madison Public Market were influenced by successful markets across the country. One Market that demonstrates success in entrepreneurship, multi-culture experience, and strong urban development is right next door – the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. Friends of the Madison Public Market member James Shulkin, visited the Global Market and has a few insights to share.

A highlight of my recent trip to Minneapolis was a stop at the Midtown Global Market, a 70,000 square foot small business incubator operating since 2006. The Neighborhood Development Center (NDC), along with other non-profits, redeveloped the formerly vacant Sears regional distribution center in the heart of a challenged neighborhood in South Minneapolis. NDC offers entrepreneur training, small business lending, business support/coaching and commercial real estate development. NDC has since trained more than 4000 entrepreneurs, lent more than $7.1 million and has more than 120 small businesses operating in five area incubators across the Twin Cities. In turn, these companies employ over 2200 persons and contribute $29 million to the local economy.

The Midtown Global Market is an internationally themed public market featuring more than 45 small businesses selling fresh produce, crafts, grocery items, bakery and prepared restaurant items. The market attracts visitors who come for the internationally themed, family oriented events regularly held there. Home to over 45 businesses spanning over 22 cultures, the Market provides a global experience by offering extraordinary tastes, locally made arts and crafts as well as music and dance programs throughout the week. Over 1.5 million patrons visit Midtown Global Market each year.

Market founders cite the profound economic difficulties faced by area residents, many of whom are residents of color and recent immigrants (Hmong, Hispanic and East African). Over 32 percent of the population live below the poverty level, and the unemployment rate is 12 percent. Median family income is $18,092. 78.4 percent of housing is occupied by renters.

While these economic barriers are daunting, the Market organizers make note of the impact the Market has made as an economic engine. As testament to the value an enterprise like this has for the community, the organizers confidently state that the project has re-vitalized the neighborhood and has created a dynamic and safe community gathering place offering organic foods and vegetables in a previously underserved area. The corresponding impact on reducing crime and improving the surrounding community’s image has been profound.

What elements of Madison’s cultural diversity do you believe should be represented at the Madison Public Market? What kind of products, cultural events and educational events would you like to see? Our goal is to create a fun and welcoming market that celebrates diversity and inclusiveness.

There’s already been tremendous interest among a very diverse group of potential vendors, especially among those who’ve applied for the MarketReady Program. We are very excited about that! Check back soon for an update on the status of MarketReady.

Read more about the Midtown Global Market and the Neighborhood Development Center at