May 9, 2019. As rain poured down from dark skies Wednesday, the future home of the Madison Public Market was alive with excitement as visitors got a flavor of what the long-anticipated East Side venue will be like when it opens in two years.
Over the course of a two-hour open house at what is now the city’s Fleet Services building at 200 N. First St., the large room with 20-foot ceilings was almost always full. More than 1,000 people attended the event, according to Madison Public Market Foundation estimates.
This was the first time the public could tour the space, which has been a long time coming. Advocates have been pushing for the project for at least 14 years, with delays in part stemming from choosing a location.
May 8, 2019. The City of Madison invited the public to attend an open house to see the building that will become the future Madison Public Market. Hundreds flocked to the old City of Madison Fleet Services building to get a taste of vendors that will be at the Madison Public Market.
“They have great food,” Al Cooper said. “They included all sectors of the community.”
Cooper has lived in Dane County for decades. He is excited for the Madison Public Market and thinks it will bring a lot to the East side community.
May 7, 2019. The 66-year-old building with sweeping interior open spaces and 20-foot ceilings, huge bay doors, and expansive rows of windows is poised for new life.
Already, there is a sense of big things ahead for the two-story industrial space, currently the city’s Fleet Services building on the East Side, which has been chosen as the future home of the $13.2 million Madison Public Market.
The Public Market, advocates and city officials say, will be a year-round, inclusive and welcoming community destination featuring a diverse group of entrepreneurs offering fresh produce, culturally diverse prepared food, locally made food products, and handcrafted arts and crafts.
March 10, 2019. It’s an experimentation day for Monica O’Connell. Melted butter and whiskey bubble on the stove as she drizzles brown sugar butter rum caramel syrup on a vanilla rum bundt cake, then pulls a chocolate bundt out of the oven.
“Today I am a woman on a mission,” said O’Connell, founder of Curtis & Cake. “It’s time to get these cakes settled.”
O’Connell started Curtis & Cake in 2015, making small-batch, celebratory cakes and sweets with a strong Southern influence. As part of her New Year’s resolution, O’Connell decided to master the art of creating beautiful and boozy bundt cakes. In the 1960s-style kitchen inside the old Friedens Church in Fort Atkinson, O’Connell is on her 12th round of trials.
March 7, 2019. Public markets across the country are designed for different purposes — some to retail high-end food to attract business people and tourists. Mayor Paul Soglin has said the Madison Public Market is designed to provide universal access to affordable healthy food throughout the city.
Jamaal Stricklin, president of the Madison Public Market Foundation, says the foundation views the project through a lens of equity. “We wanted to do this to provide entrepreneurship in the food industry and increase entrepreneurship in underserved communities — people of color, women, minorities,” Stricklin says. “What we really want to do is have people express their culture through their offerings.… We want to create more jobs in the food industry, but not just dishwashing jobs. We’re trying to increase opportunities for people.”
January 29, 2019. Madison’s nonprofits provide critical services that ensure the city’s rich resources are accessible to all its residents. In turn, they rely on the support of donors and the larger business community. So many private business leaders step up to the plate every day, knowing their employees value service and the opportunity to give back. These efforts not only benefit the populations each nonprofit intends to serve, but all of us. This is good, old-fashioned, genuine community building, and it’s alive and well in Madison. With this section, we honor our local nonprofits and the companies that go the extra mile to keep them running strong.
Madison Public Market
Imagine a bustling, vibrant, 45,000-square-foot public market showcasing the best of Madison’s local food and handmade goods. A treasured destination and important economic driver melding a 21st century local food economy with innovation and growth, particularly for communities that traditionally face barriers to entrepreneurism. Yet another spectacular landmark for which this city becomes famously known: Capitol Square. Monona Terrace. The Overture Center for The Arts. And, in 2021, the Madison Public Market.
“When we look at the best cities across our country and the world, most of them have thriving, colorful public markets. Madison is long overdue for a public market of our own,” said Jamaal Stricklin, Madison Public Market Foundation president.
January 28, 2019. Mayor Paul Soglin recently announced updated plans for the Madison Public Market. This year-round market space, which will be home to local food and retail vendors, will now be located at the corner of First Street and East Johnson Street, rather than at the corner of First and East Washington Avenue. The city-owned Fleet Services building currently occupies this site and will undergo renovations to become the Public Market when Fleet Services relocates in 2020.
The previously proposed market site is next door to Fleet Services, where the privately-owned Washington Square shopping plaza is currently located. The future Public Market site sits directly next to Burr Jones Park along the Yahara River, provides more square footage than the original development plans, and the renovation of the existing building is projected to provide cost savings when compared to the costs of new building construction, according to the city. Plans for the market include an outdoor seating area, access to water and greenspace, a performance stage and vendor space.
Madison Public Market’s MarketReady Program, which is operated by the Northside Planning Council, works in collaboration with the city to support a cohort of 30 food and retail business entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds as they prepare to apply for a spot in the market, with the goal of creating a market that is representative of Madison’s population and cultural diversity.
December 19, 2018. There’s been talk of a public market in Madison for years. Mayor Paul Soglin moved the idea forward when he created the Public Market Development Committee to research a market in 2012. The city council approved the idea in 2015 with the original plan to move into the City Fleet Services building at 200 First St. The proposed location changed since then, but as of this month the current plan is back to the Fleet Services building.
While it may seem like a long time in the making, the market is making progress, says Jamaal Stricklin, president of the Madison Public Market Foundation Board. “It’s going. It’s happening,” says Stricklin, who also works as sales director at SuperCharge! Foods. “I would rather take our time and do it the right way than to rush the project.”
Dan Kennelly, city manager of the Office of Business Resources, agrees. “The Madison Public Market project is building momentum,” Kennelly says. “2018 has seen a lot of progress. This includes the Madison Public Market Foundation Board being formally selected by the city as the future operator of the market and launching a fundraising campaign that has raised nearly $1 million.” Kennelly also says the site change back to the location at the Fleet Services building — as opposed to a brand new building at the corner of East Washington Avenue and First Street — is positive. “The Fleet Building is a solidly built, 50-year-old facility that has been used to maintain large vehicles. The building is 45,000 square feet with three large garage bays, 20 foot high ceilings and big overhead garage doors. Reusing a big old garage will also result in a market that has unique character and architectural interest,” Kennelly says.
But while city council members have been hashing out details and architects have been drawing up plans, a group of 30 entrepreneurs — the heart and soul of the Madison Public Market, say its organizers — have been busy since 2017 creating business plans, purchasing equipment, touring other public markets and taking business classes with support from the city’s MarketReady Program.
While the location of the Madison Public Market itself may e in question, there is no question that the vendors who have been chosen to populate the market are ready to sell their goods and services. This holiday, you can visit the market website’s commerce page and explore what they have in store for the holidays.
We thought we would give you a hand by highlighting a few and letting you know where you can find them as you prepare to do your holiday shopping. You can find links to explore all vendors at madisonpublicmarket.org.
With land costs too high to put a $13.2 million Madison Public Market on East Washington Avenue, city officials are embracing an option to reuse the nearby city Fleet Services building for the market.
Mayor Paul Soglin announced Monday that the city is dropping its bid to acquire land to build the market as part of a coming private redevelopment of the Washington Square shopping center at the corner of First Street and East Washington.
“A decision like this is a 100-year decision,” Soglin said at a press conference at the Fleet Services building Monday morning. “It’s very important we get it right.”