Hiring announcement! Executive Director recruitment now underway!

Lead this incredible organization!
The Madison Public Market Foundation (MPMF) is hiring an Executive Director to help support the finish of the facility construction phase of the
project, lead the tenant build-out phase, and establish the Madison Public Market as a premier market location in Madison and the surrounding areas once the market doors open. The Executive Director will provide strategic, operational, and financial leadership while fulfilling the mission and vision of the MPMF and the Market. The Executive Director is responsible for building a new team of leaders to carry out the Market’s Business Plan in pursuit of fulfilling MPMF’s vison of equity through entrepreneurship, striving to ensure the Market meets the evolving needs of merchants, customers, and the community.

The Opportunity
The projected first-year accomplishments for the new Executive Director include:

• Establish relationships with the Board of Directors, future merchants, city government, and local
stakeholders through authentic interactions and building trust through consistent and meaningful
• Aide in developing policies and procedures.
• Coordinate last-mile steps to open the Market.
• Hire staff.
• Oversee the Grand Opening and running of the Market, once open.
• Create and nurture a welcoming, inclusive Market culture where everyone feels they belong.

As the inaugural Executive Director, you will have a unique and exciting opportunity to set the stage for the Market’s future. The Madison Public Market is nearly 20 years in the making and there is both high excitement and high expectation from Madison and the areas surrounding the Market. With community and City of Madison support, the Market can serve as an anchor for economic development, which will generate the opportunity to best serve all residents of Madison, Dane County, and the region. While some of the foundation and framework has been put in place, the Executive Director will have the opportunity to significantly contribute to the crafting and execution of the vision for the Market as it opens and moves forward.

Application Process
For more information, please see the full job description.

MPMF and WAVERLY PARTNERS firmly support the principle and philosophy of equal opportunity for all individuals, regardless of race, religion, sex, age, national origin, or disability. Interested candidates should send a resume to Waverly Partners at the address shown below or by contacting directly either consultant. [email protected]

Heidi G. Milosovic
Managing Director & Principal
O: 440.355.6629; C: 216.387.0832
[email protected]

Sara B. Cikalo
Managing Director
O: 440.933.0096; C: 440.821.4437
[email protected]

Madison Common Council approves funds to begin Market’s construction

After a lengthy discussion at the October 17 meeting of the Madison Common Council, the alders voted 15-3 to provide the necessary funding to favorably respond to the lowest construction bid, which must be enacted by October 24. The City Council has added $1.64 million to the project after construction bids came in over budget in September. This allows the construction on the long awaited to public market project to begin as early as November of this year. Read all about this extremely favorable development in coverage provided by local media, including the Cap Times, Wisconsin State Journal and Isthmus.

Urgent and Immediate Call To Action: Save the Madison Public Market!

We need your help! To help convince Mayor Rhodes-Conway and Common Council members that the community is solidly behind the Public Market, a groundswell of support must be shown. 

The Public Market Foundation has fulfilled its commitment to raise a significant amount of money for the project, developed a brand and marketing strategy, worked with City staff to complete the design process, and engaged the community to create a strong foundation for a successful Market. The project is shovel-ready!

Despite the progress made to bring our dream to fruition, the proposed Madison Public Market is again in danger!  

A sudden and unexpected funding crisis has developed. Recently, the City withdrew its application from a $3.45M Federal Government Economic Development Administration grant opportunity, a vital part of the funding plan. Because of the nearly two-year pandemic-induced delay, anticipated costs of construction subject to inflation may add an estimated $1.8M. The project now has a $5.25M gap in funding.

The Mayor’s 2023 capital budget reauthorizes the current $7M in TID funding, but does not include additional City dollars to fill the $5.25M gap. As the Market is a City project, we must implore the City to immediately fill the funding gap to keep the project moving forward. The $5.25M can come from the E. Washington Corridor TID#36, instead of general borrowing. This TID is spinning off $10M annually for the next five years, meant to be reinvested in city economic develoment projects. The Public Market is a perfect use for these dollars.

Market funding will be discussed by City Alders when the capital budget goes to the Finance Committee in mid-September. This is our chance to have the additional $5.25M amended to the 2023 City capital budget. 

Your supportive emails to the Common Council members are crucial, now more than ever. Please ask them to add $5.25M to the 2023 Capital budget. If this doesn’t occur, the Market will face yet another significant delay. Your messages to the Alders should occur prior to the September 12 Finance Committee meeting, and again before they meet to approve the Capital Budget on September 28. Messaging should continue as often as possible until such time that the Common Council votes on the Capital Budget in November.

A quick note to the alders is great! Please clearly say that you are strongly supportive of the Madison Public Market. If you wish to say more, we have provided “talking points” you may wish to use in your communications with the Alders. Write to them at: 

Common Council Alders: [email protected] or  https://www.cityofmadison.com/Council/contact/

To find email addresses of your individual Council Alder: https://www.cityofmadison.com/Council/councilMembers/alders.cfm


Check out these local gift-giving ideas

Now more than ever, it’s important to buy local for the holidays. Plus, there are so many interesting and unique gift options right here in Madison. So, the Madison Public Market is highlighting a few of our MarketReady merchants and other opportunities in the community to buy local and support our one-of-a-kind small businesses.

Perfect Imperfections
Jasmine Bank’s luxurious natural body care products are made with love from the ingredients to the beautiful packaging. These little treasures make lovely gifts. During the holiday’s, Perfect Imperfections is featuring:

Hand Poured Soy Wax Candles:
Bergamot Black Tea, Candy Cane, Cedar and Amber, Kentucky Bourbon, Pumpkin and Brown Sugar, Sugar Plum Fairy, Vanilla Bean, Warm Flannel

Whipped Body Butter: Gentle enough for baby and useful for all ages, this ultra-healing blend nourishes dry skin and soothes uncomfortable skin conditions.

Brown Sugar Scrub: Pamper yourself with this decadent brown sugar body scrub! Use in the shower all over and feel instantly moisturized! Leave your skin feeling smooth, smelling divine and amazingly moisturized.

These items plus several more can be purchased from Perfect Imperfections’ website site: https://perfectimperfections608.org/

Off The Block Pizza and Salsa
Not only is Off The Block pizza and salsa DELICIOUS, it’s also food with an important mission. Every purchase supports Mentoring Positives’ work helping kids and families in the Darbo-Worthington Neighborhood. Mentoring Positives’ youth engage in social, emotional, and business mentorship – the kids participate in every aspect of the Off The Block business, learning valuable entrepreneurial and life skills.

For delivery to your doorstep visit:

For pick-up at FEED Kitchens visit:

Madame Chu Delicacies
If you’ve ever had Madame Chu’s Southeast Asian cuisine at a local fair or festival, you know how incredible her handmade sauces are. Josey Chu uses recipes passed down through generations in her family and then incorporates only the most traditional and all natural ingredients.

Madame Chu’s is offering a special holiday treat: For every purchase of Madame Chu’s sauce, you’ll receive a small samples of cookies representing Southeast Asia flavors

Madame Chu Delicacies features:
Sambal Nyonya – a deep red chili paste that carries a unique and assertive heat. It is cooked slowly using traditional methods which add a unique caramelized and earthy flavor to the heat of the peppers.

Satay Peanut Nyonya – a dense paste that strikes a balance between the heat of the peppers and the richness of peanuts. A total of 14 ingredients come together offering a sweet, hot and sophisticated flavor.

Ginger Garlic – a light and flavorful punch of ginger and a gentle hint of the aromatic garlic. The ginger garlic stands on its own or when pureed with other herbs makes a great new condiments.

Madame Chu’s Cookie Treasure Box – each box comes with different cookies that are local favorites from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Some of the cookies are mincemeat pie filled with raisins, figs, apples and many more goodness that are infused with brandy. Pineapple filled pastry ball, Linzer cookies, Peanut Cookies, Palm Sugar Cookies etc.

Order online: www.madamechu.com or through FEED Kitchen Bazaar

Madre Yerba
Madre Yerba (or mother herb) is a collective promoting organic, local healing products for the hair, skin, scalp, and nails. The mission is to open the mind about health and the impact we make on our environment. Starting small with the community first, spreading world history improving the knowledge of the youth! This holiday season, Madre Yerba has unique fabrics for face masks and lightweight earrings as well as plant based vegan and non vegan body lotions and oils. Don’t miss out on these unique, handcrafted delights!

Oder online: www.etsy.com/shop/MadreYerba

Ugly Apple Cafe
The mission of Ugly Apple is to work with local farmers, minimize waste by using their overstock produce, and help Madison’s less fortunate get fed all while creating tasty treats and breakfast all day through the Ugly Apple food cart. Keep watching our website or FB page for a winter donut pop-up – Apple cider donuts, buttermilk donuts and Paczki!

Ugly Apply is currently featuring:

Cranberry Quince Jam – 12oz for $11 or 9oz for $8. Quince are a unique relative to the apple and pear and with cranberries and spices this jam tastes like the holidays!
Aronia Berry Apple Sauce – 12oz for $8. Aronia berries grow locally and they are the best things for you! Tons of antioxidants and mixed with apples they have a tart tanginess that is great with ham, turkey, mixed into yogurt or on it’s own!

Online orders: email [email protected] with your order or find us on christines-kitchens.com There is no waiting for jars or fruit leather, special orders may take 48 hours.

Wisconsin Mujer
Wisconsin Mujer, a multimedia social engagement company, is owned by founder Araceli Esparza. Araceli’s expertise in building bridges in the community are the same principles she uses for helping business entrepreneurs gain clarity in getting new clients. Wisconsin Mujer is currently offering a free consultation for your brand, product or service. Outreach/marketing/branding packages are customized, but typically include 10 social media posts, a business card and specific branding consulting. Email [email protected]. In the subject line write, “MarketReady Promo”

People can join Wisconsin Mujer’s newsletter and find free Instagram Tips: https://mailchi.mp/a0bc54983fbe/my-top-3-instagram-tips

Ember Foods

Ember Foods is owned and operated by Yakub Kazi and Nausheen Qureishi. Yakub and Nausheen have lived and traveled around the world and they have curated their menu to serve some of the most unique and exciting cuisine they have found. Combining flavors of India, Australia, Indonesia, America, and the Middle East, Ember has food to please all tastes. Ember is often a crowd favorite at our Taste of the Public Market events.

Ember is currently featuring:

Punjabi Vegetable Samosas with Chutney

Flavorful vegetarian samosas come with yogurt chutney

Order online at www.christines-kitchens.com or email [email protected]

QB’s Magnetic Creations

QB’s Magnetic Creations makes Magnetic Jewelry that showcases your personality and distinctive taste. Feel magnetized with Magnetic Face Mask Bling, Badge & Eyeglass Holders, Brooches, and Jewelry Strings. They hold securely in place and adhere without damage to your clothes. Solving your problem beautifully – magnetically! Wear these beauties to your Zoom holiday gathering!

Special Holiday Discount 20% Off Use Code: HOLIDAY20

Purchase online: at www.QBsid.com


Caracas Empanadas y Mas

If you’ve never had an empanada, then you don’t know what you’re missing! For the past ten years, Caracas Empanadas has gained a reputation as one of Madison’s most popular food carts. Luis named the cart after the city he grew up in, making Caracas Empanadas Madison’s first Venezuelan food cart. Through the MarketReady program, Luis has grown his business and expanded his product line to now include Arepas. Luis looks forward to accelerating his business by having a counter/restaurant in the Madison Public Market and bringing more delicious flavors of Latin America to the greater Madison community.

Empanadas and Arepas can be purchased frozen along with our bottled guasacaca sauce at https://www.christines-kitchens.com/

FEED Holiday Bazaar

FEED Kitchens’ annual Holiday Bazaar has gone virtual! Visit our store and order items from over 20 wonderful local food businesses operating out of FEED Kitchens. (Including serveral MarketReady merchants!) Items appropriate for your holiday table and for gift giving. Support your local entrepreneurs and help keep them in business!
The store will remain open until Dec. 13. Items will be available for curbside pickup beginning Thursday, December 17. For more information visit the store or the event Facebook page.
From curated specialty boxes (Bloody Mary Box? Yes, please!) to a variety of food and beautiful handcrafted goods, Christine’s Kitchens offers a vast selection of unique items from over 60 local merchants. (Including several MarketReady merchants!) Items can be delivered, picked-up curbside, or shipped outside of the Madison area. Christine’s makes buying local fun and easy!

Order Online: www.christines-kitchens.com

First 5 Public Market vendors unveiled!

After 15+ years of community feedback, planning, and preparing, the Madison Public Market Foundation in partnership with the City of Madison, has made significant progress in making our Public Market a reality. With the architectural design plan complete, $3M raised in philanthropic funds, the site at the City’s Fleet Building secured, and the recent Mayor’s budget that maintains the $7M needed for the project, the Madison Public Market project moves into the next phase towards completion.

Recently, another significant milestone for the Madison Public Market project was accomplished. MarketReady, the project’s flagship program, completed its first phase with resounding results. Launched in 2017, the MarketReady program was created for two important reasons:
1) to ensure that the Madison Public Market is truly diverse and welcoming to all people and;
2) to build equity in our community through supporting entrepreneurial opportunities within communities of color. Of the 30 entrepreneurs who have participated in this program, 83% are people of color, 62% are women and 33% are first generation immigrants.

Mike Miller, City of Madison Business Resources, oversaw the MarketReady program. “MarketReady was designed as an entrepreneurial training program, connecting entrepreneurs with resources that can help them pursue their dream of owning their own business.” The City of Madison funded the administration of MarketReady through the Northside Planning Council.

The program was designed for entrepreneurs who either had a small existing business (food carts, catering, etc.) or had a strong idea for starting a business. MarketReady provided connections to resources, coaching, and business mentors with the goal of preparing many of these business owners for a successful launch in the Public Market.

Over the last three years, these 30 business owners have sold their first products, invested in equipment, designed logos and websites, launched brick and mortar locations, and expanded product lines. Collectively, participants added 15 jobs over the course of the program, paying these employees a median rate of $12 per hour. Perhaps most importantly, these entrepreneurs built relationships with one another and with partner organizations that will continue to support their business development in the months and years to come.

At the completion of the program, 18 participants submitted detailed business plans for how they would like to operate in the Public Market. A group of community leaders, including representatives from the Black and Latino chambers of commerce, the Madison Public Market Foundation and the City of Madison’s Public Market Development Committee, evaluated these plans and selected 5 participants to receive $19,000 each to support their successful operation in the Public Market.

Today, the Madison Public Market Foundation announces the recipients of the grants and welcomes these entrepreneurs as our first official vendors of the Madison Public Market. Congratulations to Caracas Empanadas y Más, Little Tibet, Melly Mell’s, Perfect Imperfection, and El Sabor de Puebla. (Learn more about these vendors below).

Through MarketReady, the Public Market will be an important incubator for starting and accelerating businesses, with a strong focus on minority-owned enterprises, who are too often left out of the start-up conversation.

“The success of MarketReady has exceeded our expectations and is playing a key role in ensuring that our Public Market is diverse. More importantly, MarketReady and the Public Market address the serious equity challenges we face in Madison by supporting and promoting entrepreneurship among communities of color and women,” said Jamaal Stricklin, Madison Public Market Foundation Board Chair.

Stricklin shared that the Madison Public Market will continue the next phase of the Public Market by providing coaching and mentorship support to the MarketReady vendors and other diverse entrepreneurs who launch in the Market when the doors open in 2022. Additionally, the Madison Public Market Foundation will identify a new cohort of multicultural entrepreneurs to begin the MarketReady program.

“The Public Market is meant to be a business incubator that serves as a steppingstone in the journey of entrepreneurship. While some businesses will become beloved, permanent merchants at the Market, many others will accelerate out of the Market as their businesses grow and prosper. The ongoing MarketReady program will ensure that there are always new, multicultural entrepreneurs ready to launch and grow in the Market,” explains Stricklin.

For the remaining MarketReady participants who were not announced today and for other entrepreneurs hoping to call the Madison Public Market home, there will be plenty of upcoming opportunities to participate in the Public Market. Next year, the Madison Public Market Foundation will begin the Market’s vendor selection process to select the 25 additional permanent vendors for the Market. Once the Market is open, there will be opportunities for daily, weekly, and monthly temporary vendors, likely offering vending opportunities to 100+ entrepreneurs every year. For visitors this means that there will be new, unique treasures to find at the Market during every season.

Along with start-up organizations, the Public Market will also feature two to four anchor restaurants/cafes/brew pubs that will be long-time established businesses to provide financial stability to the overall Market business plan. Currently, over 200 businesses, large and small, mature and start-up, have submitted formal interest in having a space in the Market.

With 500,000 visitors annually and delicious, unique cuisine and handmade artisan crafts that will reflect the culture and best of our community, the Madison Public Market will soon be a treasured destination for Madisonians and tourists alike. The City of Madison will break ground next year, with Madison’s first public market opening in late 2022.


First five Madison Public Market vendors (all MarketReady participants):

Little Tibet

Little Tibet is an original, family-owned restaurant offering authentic homemade Tibetan and Himalayan tribal cuisine! With two food carts and a restaurant in the Tenney Lapham neighborhood, Little Tibet is a gathering spot for east side neighbors, our local Tibetan and Himalayan region community, and a destination for tourists and locals where they share information on Tibetan food, culture, religion, and life. When the Madison Public Market opens in 2022, we hope to expand our business and open a second location in the Market, adding more jobs as well. The menu will feature traditional Tibetan and Himalayan food with quality ingredients sourced locally.

Perfect Imperfections

Jasmine Banks, CEO of Perfect Imperfections, is a 5th generation Madisonian and she still lives in the home she was born and raised in. Perfect Imperfections is Jasmine’s natural handcrafted body care line that uses quality and local sourced ingredients. She empowers women to appreciate life daily and care for themselves with safe, chemical-free body products. Prior to the Madison Public Market, Jasmine’s dream for her business never included having a brick and mortar because it didn’t seem attainable.  Being a part of the Market Ready program has shown her that with the right people, resources, training and determination that anything is possible… and that includes having a space inside of the Madison Public Market.

Caracas Empanadas y Más

If you’ve never had an empanada, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Empanadas are a staple food in many Latin American countries including Venezuela. In 2010 Luis Dompablo opened his first food cart Caracas Empanadas, featuring some of the very same recipes his mother prepared for him as a young boy. For the past ten years, Caracas Empanadas has gained a reputation as one of Madison’s most popular food carts. Luis named the cart after the city he grew up in, making Caracas Empanadas Madison’s first Venezuelan food cart. Through the MarketReady program, Luis has grown his business and expanded his product line to now include arepas. Luis looks forward to accelerating his business by having a counter/restaurant in the Madison Public Market and bringing more delicious flavors of Latin America to the greater Madison community.

Melly Mell’s

Carmell Jackson, owner of Melly Mell’s makes healthy home cooked food with a southern flair from recipes passed down through generations. “Feeding you fills my heart. I also offer healthy options to keep your heart and body healthy!”

Carmell is a successful caterer with her soul food being in high demand at events and celebrations across the Madison region. Carmell envisions Melly Mell’s being an integral part of the Public Market, bringing warmth, big smiles, and laughter that resonates throughout.  Her soul food will be available to eat at the Public Market or take home to “heat and eat.”

The MarketReady program gave Carmell a new start. She shares that the program helped her in so many ways to build her business and help make it the best that it can be. Carmell plans to use her Market business as an opportunity to train youth and inspire other children of color to become entrepreneurs. Carmell believes the Market will give small business a place to thrive.

El Sabor de Puebla

For several years, Reyna Gonzalez Torres and Waldo Olguin, a wife and husband team, have successfully owned a tamale production business that distributes their incredible tamales to grocery stores and eateries across Madison, in addition to owning and operating a restaurant on Madison’s near east side.

At the Madison Public Market, Reyna and Waldo will develop a Puebla style cocina (kitchen) and juice/ smoothie bar.  The business will be called: Antojitos, and it will be connected with El Sabor de Puebla, their successful restaurant. If you’ve ever had the Torres-Olguin family Mexican cuisine, you know that it will soon become a favorite at the Public Market. All products will be made from natural and organic ingredients when possible.

100+ citizens and organizations spoke up for equity through entrepreneurship

Over the last six weeks, the Mayor’s office and City alders have received well over 100 emails and phone calls in support of the City’s continued investment in our Public Market. While we are all facing daily obstacles and unprecedented challenges, so many of you took the time to speak up for our Market and the important positive impact this investment will make. We can’t thank you enough.

Understandably during multiple crises facing our community, City leadership needed to reassess every project and department. After so many diverse voices spoke up for our Market, the Mayor has upheld the City’s commitment to our Public Market by maintaining our funding ($7M) in the Mayor’s Executive Budget released earlier today.

Thank you, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, for prioritizing equity through entrepreneurship as an important value and economic investment in the Madison region.

This is a huge milestone for our project! While the budget must still make it’s way through the city approval process, we are optimistic that the Common Council will support the Mayor’s continued commitment to our project. We will keep you updated on our progress.
We deeply believe in the Madison Public Market’s ability to amplify and uplift diverse entrepreneurs in our community and become an important public space in Madison that brings people from all backgrounds together. THANK YOU for continuing on this journey with us.

Market Forward!

Resources for Supporting the Public Market


Thank you for your desire to support our Madison Public Market project. We’ve come way too far and the need for supporting our small businesses is too great to stop the momentum now!

The Madison Public Market Foundation has put together a variety of talking points below to help you write letters to the editor, email your elected officials, and chat with people in our community in support of the Market. Please feel welcome to use any of the language to help support your viewpoint. If you have any questions, you can reach out to us at [email protected].

Here’s one example of a letter of support from Neil Heinen, Channel 3000. 

Also, from the Northside Planning Council, as published in Madison365:  Opinion: Defunding the Public Market is yet another divestment from communities of color

Talking points (according to type of supporter):

For General Supporters

For Small Business/Vendors

For Civic Leaders

For Large Businesses


More Information:

Madison Public Market Foundation’s perspective

View our short video on the benefits and purpose of the Market

Wisconsin State Journal overview of the current situation


Write to the Mayor and Alders:

Please email the City and ask them to maintain Market funding and move our #MarketForward! The City has received an outpouring of support for our Market. Let’s keep it going!

[email protected]
[email protected]


Letters to the Editor

Submit a letter to the editor for Wisconsin State Journal (200 word limit)

Submit a letter to the editor for the Cap Times (300 word limit)


THANK YOU to the thousands of supporters who have attended public hearings, completed surveys, attended Market events, volunteered, donated, and supported our project in so many other ways. We’re so close! We can make this happen together.

Mayor Re-evaluates Funding for Public Market

Madison Public Market Foundation’s response regarding the Mayor’s re-evaluation of funding for the Madison Public Market project due to COVID-19

Our Madison Public Market is a shovel-ready project that’s been in the making for nearly 20 years. The core mission of the Madison Public Market is equity-based economic development. As an economic development project, the Market is uniquely positioned to quickly provide jobs and advancement opportunities for 30+ permanent small business vendors, with a special focus on minority and female entrepreneurs through the MarketReady program. Flexible daily, weekly, or monthly vending stalls can be made available to support another 100+ small businesses.

Two years from now a Public Market will be EXACTLY what our recovering local businesses and economy needs. Small businesses will require an affordable, supportive place to do business where they are stronger together. Our Madison Public Market will be an essential step in our region’s economic recovery.

Due to the financial impact of COVID-19, the Mayor’s office is reassessing all City department budgets and projects, including the Public Market. When asked by the Wisconsin State Journal in a recent article whether the project could stall or end, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway shared, “That’s certainly a possibility. I don’t think that’s anyone’s first choice. The landscape has shifted. There’s a lot of things in flux right now. I think everything is on the table at this point.”

The Madison Public Market Foundation recognizes the City’s significant financial challenges and has been exploring additional funding opportunities. In partnership with the City, the Foundation has been invited to apply for a $3M grant from federal COVID-related funding. Other opportunities are also being explored. Importantly, the Foundation will operate the Market and assume the financial risks of the entity.

Additionally, it’s important to understand that the City’s $7M investment is not coming out of the General Fund or debt service. The dollars are allocated from TID District #36 that requires current available funding be invested specifically in economic development projects for the E. Washington corridor. Previous funds from TID #36 have funded projects such as the newest City parking garage, Breese Stevens Field and private apartment developments. Investing TID #36 dollars into a Public Market that will uplift small businesses is just as worthy if not more critical than the other projects completed through this fund.

Recent progress made to support the City’s smart investment in our Market includes:

  • Secured $3M in private donations and pledges to fulfill our fundraising commitment to the City, with opportunity to raise more dollars
  • Invitation to apply for $3M in COVID-related federal funding
    $3M in strong interest from New Market Tax Credit investors
    Successful completion of the first phase of MarketReady
  • Architectural design plans complete and waiting for City approval
    New Fleet Services building is nearly complete, making the current Fleet Building soon-to-be-vacant and ready for the Market
  • The Madison Public Market project is ready to launch. At a time when our community is most in need, we are fortunate to have a shovel-ready project that will uplift small businesses and provide equitable economic opportunities to minority entrepreneurs. Please join with us and show support for our Madison Public Market!

The Madison Public Market project is ready to launch. At a time when our community is most in need, we are fortunate to have a shovel-ready project that will uplift small businesses and provide equitable economic opportunities to minority entrepreneurs.

Please email the City and ask them to maintain Market funding and move our #MarketForward! The City has received an outpouring of support for our Market. Let’s keep it going!

[email protected]
[email protected]

For Talking Points and more information, click here.

To the thousands of Madisonians who supported our public market through volunteering, attending our events, speaking out at public meetings, or simply sharing our progress on social media, we THANK YOU for going on this journey with us. We wouldn’t have made it this far without you.

COVID-19 prompts innovative collaboration among Christine’s Kitchens, FEED and MarketReady

It’s times like these when we depend on our friends and family to help us through. The Coronavirus and the Safe at Home initiative has us spending more time at home and foregoing trips to our favorite restaurants. With large gatherings cancelled or postponed, catering operations have no one to cook for. That’s been especially hard on small business operators in food production, catering and restaurants. Revenue is down considerably. In fact, according to the James Beard Foundation, four out of five independent restaurants may not survive the pandemic.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and many in the food industry have had to be creative to continue operating. Fortunately, Christine’s Kitchens has partnered with FEED Kitchens and the Madison Public Market’s MarketReady program to organize and deliver pre-packaged food items on a weekly basis. Over 30 vendors are represented, offering everything from apple straps to whoopie pies.

Christine Ameigh, best known for her Slide Gourmet Potato Chips, operates Christine’s Kitchens, an east-side commercial kitchen shared with other food producers such as jam makers, bakers, caterers and pickles and preserves wholesalers. With approximately 60 percent of her potato chip business reliant on now-closed bars, she had a considerable amount of stock that needed to be sold quickly. After organizing and promoting a successful online sales effort, many of her fellow producers were intrigued. Together, they built upon the concept and now offer an expanded assortment of packaged and prepared food products, including fresh-made meals. Approximately 70 no-contact deliveries were made during the first week, and later, with MarketReady vendors participating, the following week’s orders totaled more than 200. Over $30,000 in products have been sold and 500 deliveries been made since early April.

“As a business owner, trying to adapt to the ever-changing world is 100 percent necessary and usually never planned”, says Ameigh. “The sales have just been stupendous. We are very excited. If you go on our website, you’ll see you can probably order everything you’ll need to eat for at least one week, maybe two.”

Well-loved catering companies are represented. Aloha Wagon offers a Huli Huli chicken lunch plate, sweet teriyaki boneless chicken thighs, purple rice and authentic Hawaiian Mac salad. Bunky’s provides hummus, baba ghanouj, lentil soup and baklava. Caracas Empanadas sells shredded beef & cheese, chicken, breakfast, and pulled pork empanadas. You can get your soul food fix from Melly Mel’s with an order of fried chicken, collards, corn bread and mac and cheese. Melly Mel’s offerings in May will feature BBQ chicken and baby back ribs combos including mac and greens. Ember Foods, famous for Indian food, is selling samosas, chicken korma and chana masala.

Carmel Jackson, also known as “Melly Mel” and owner of the namesake catering service, was fearful when the coronavirus outbreak occurred. Catering jobs were cancelled, and she wondered how she would continue. As a MarketReady Program participant, she was able to offer her menu via the Christine’s Kitchens website. “I was so happy that this opportunity became available to me. It put me at ease as I was able to get the money I needed for my business to survive. This is truly a blessing for me as I’m not sitting at home, just hoping to not get sick.” Jackson also found inspiration in the online ordering service. “The way this has come together gives us hope, keeps our spirits up and opens our heart to others”, she adds.

Yakub Kazi and Nausheen Qureishi, who operate Ember Foods are also thankful for the new delivery service. “This has been a blessing for us” says Kazi. “With orders from our largest customer halted, selling through Christine’s Kitchen has provided valuable relief. Christine has been excellent to work with.”

Specialty foods are also available. Shoppers will find an assortment of delicious cookies and cheesecakes from Looking Glass Bakery, award winning chocolates and confections from Roots Chocolates, cooking sauces from Madame Chu Delicacies, and a variety of cheeses from Farmer Johns’ Cheese. Super Charge! Foods sells mixed greens, ready-made salads, spring rolls and wraps. Offerings from other vendors include fresh baked breads, vegetables, coffee, charcuterie-style meats, soaps, caramelized pecans, pizza and popcorn, and more.

Jamaal Stricklin of Super Charge! Foods saw a 60 percent downturn in business because of the coronavirus pandemic. With his restaurant and retail store closed, he foresaw the prospect of losing the business. “Faced with this challenge, my team and I did what entrepreneurs do. We worked with Christine to grow our revenue through this delivery service.” The rewards have been significant. “We now have an alternate source of income from this new business model and have recouped some of lost revenue. While we are still fine tuning these efforts, it has helped us realize we could add a regular, supplemental delivery service that we now provide on our own.”

Stricklin also expressed his appreciation for the service provided by Christine’s Kitchens. “Christine has been wonderful to work with. I know that coordinating all the orders and making this service happen takes a great deal of effort.”

Visitors to the Christine’s Kitchens website will find instructions for delivery and full menus and product listings from each vendor. Order periods occur over a six-day timeframe, with delivery occurring a few days later. Free delivery is offered for orders over $20 to Madison, Sun Prairie, Columbus, Windsor, Deforest, Middleton, Oregon, McFarland, Verona, Cross Plains, Stoughton, Cottage Grove, Fitchburg, Waunakee and Monona.

The MarketReady program is an initiative sponsored by the City of Madison and administered by the Northside Planning Council as part of the proposed Madison Public Market. MarketReady is focused on providing training, supportive services and micro-grants for low income populations, people of color, immigrants, women, displaced workers, veterans and LGBTQ individuals interested in becoming Madison Public Market vendors.

Megan Ballard, project manager at the Madison Public Market Foundation believes that the collaborative effort among MarketReady, Christine’s Kitchens and FEED Kitchens exemplifies how small businesses can work together to weather these economic hard times. She looks forward to the opening of the 44,000 square foot market at First Street and East Johnson Street, which will include a 9,000 square foot Public Market Kitchen. This space will be dedicated to small businesses focused on food production and distribution. “With the COVID-19 crisis so heavily impacting small businesses, especially farmers, restaurants, and food producers, it’s important now more than ever to create a shared, community space like the Madison Public Market where small, family-owned businesses can thrive.”

In reference to the collaboration based at Christine’s Kitchens, Ballard adds, “This is just one powerful example of how small businesses united under one roof are stronger and more successful.”

Friends and family can truly help us persevere, even in the most difficult of times.

For more information about the proposed Madison Public Market, please visit MadisonPublicMarket.org.

Welcome to our newest board members

The Madison Public Market is excited to introduce our newest Madison Public Market Foundation Board members. Leslie Watkins, Laura Heisler, and Rachel Kerr joined our board in November and have been wonderful additions to the Public Market team.

Leslie Watkins, a longtime Madison resident is an experienced management professional with an extensive background in sales, retail, marketing and strategic planning. With a BA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, she is an energetic, results oriented problem solver. She is on the board of the Madison Children’s Museum, and previously served on the boards of Four Seasons Theatre, Capital City Theatre, and the Dane County Arts Commission, and she has also done fundraising for the Center for Patient Partnerships and Wisconsin Public Television.

Laura Heisler is Director of Programming for WARF and the Director of Outreach for the Morgridge Institute for Research. Prior to assuming this role in 2009, she served as an Intellectual Property Manager for WARF and as the Program Developer for the Morgridge Institute for Research. She has been involved with numerous aspects of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery project since its inception in 2006. In her current role, she is charged with developing, implementing and directing the programmatic framework for the groundbreaking public spaces at the Discovery Building, including the one-of-a- kind Town Center, which welcome the entire community. Programs at the Discovery building include forums for university and community-based entrepreneurs.

Laura is a patent agent registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Before joining WARF in 2004, she worked as Intellectual Property Manager, Grants Manager and as a research scientist for a biotechnology startup, Third Wave Technologies. Laura did her undergraduate work at Stanford University in Biological Sciences and Classics and earned a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is the author of several scientific publications and the inventor of a U.S. patent.

Rachel Kerr is the Director of Public Relations and Events for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, a non-profit funded by the state’s dairy farmers to grow demand for Wisconsin milk. In her current role she leads the development of brand experiences and communications to grow awareness of Wisconsin Cheese. Before joining DFW, Rachel helped lead the iconic Wienermobile program at Kraft Heinz/Oscar Mayer.

Rachel joined the board as a representative of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and as an advocate for local agriculture. Having worked and lived on Madison’s East Side for many years, she is thrilled to be part of the Madison Public Market Foundation to help make this project a reality. Rachel believes the public market will become a cornerstone of the Madison community.

Thank you Leslie, Laura, and Rachel for being a part of such an important project!