New indoor public market debuts in Lexington
BY KRISTINA ROSEN
If you’ve ever had a near-miss encounter with a flying fish at Seattle’s Pike Place Market (and even if you haven’t), you know how integral a vibrant market can be to a city’s culture.
Lexington’s Julietta Market is a 23,000 square foot year-round market located inside the newly renovated Greyline Station on the corner of North Limestone and Loudon Avenue.
Similar to public markets in bigger cities—think NYC’s Chelsea Market or Cinci’s Findlay Market —Julietta will be unique to Lexington.
“We want people to come to Julietta Market to see the faces of Lexington because we are Lexington,” says Leannia Haywood, Director of Small Business Development for North Limestone CDC (NoLi CDC). “Lexington is made up of so many different types of people and things, and to house it under one roof, and share all the abilities and skills with everybody, that’s the face of Lexington. Where else better to get it?”
The newly renovated Greyline Station was once the historic Southeastern Greyhound Line building. Chad Needham of Needham Properties bought the building to renovate it into a 65,000 square foot mixed-use development space. NoLi CDC then collaborated with Needham. Greyline Station “is a living, breathing thing — much bigger than the actual building,” Needham said. “The whole is much greater than its parts.”
Greyline Station houses familiar Lexington businesses including Forage, North Lime Coffee & Donuts, Nourished Folks, and Wilson’s Grocery + Meat, as well as new businesses like Old North Bar, Laura Lou Pâtisserie, and Poppy & Pomelo.
Julietta Market consists of 58 vendor kiosks; each kiosk is owner-operated and made up of small independent businesses. The kiosks can be rented on a monthly basis. Some businesses include Black Soil, Inebriated Baker, Rayann’s Popcorn, Tinia’s Tasty Treats, Urban Magnolia Market, Triad Tees and many others.
Haywood is most excited about the programming and watching vendors be successful, adding,“I can’t wait for the day that somebody says ‘I’m leaving your space because I know I can do this.’ That’s when you know what we’re doing has truly worked.”
There are no age restrictions on who can operate a kiosk in the market. Kids in the neighborhood who want to launch their business as a pop-up may find a willing audience. Haywood explains, “Sometimes youth think they have to be old enough — 18 — to start their dreams. How many dreams get lost between where they think it [up], and [the age of] 18? We’re kind of like the dream catchers here. If you’ve got the dream, let’s help you get it started.”
The market also features a shared kitchen named after Cubaka “Chui” Mutayongwa, who had a huge role in the development of Night Markets. Chui died in a boating accident in July. He served as the Director of Sustainability for NoLi CDC, among his many other roles, and brought energy to his many projects.
City markets are known to be economic drivers, as well as cultural icons and touchstones. Cincinnati’s Findlay Market entertains more than one million guests every year. New York’s Chelsea Market attracts more than 6 million visitors a year, from all over the world. Seattle’s Pike Place Market draws more than 15 million visitors exploring the nine-acre historic district annually.
Julietta Market exists because, for the past 6 years, NoLi CDC has been gathering information about what the neighborhood needed. The consensus revealed the need for more jobs and opportunity, but more importantly, the need of a place for communities to come together and intersect as opposed to being separated.
The monthly Night Markets, another project underneath the NoLi CDC umbrella, will work in tandem with Julietta Market. The Night Market is the first step for local entrepreneurs to gain exposure while the public market comes in as the second, more consistent step in growing a business.
Conscious effort was given to the pricing structure of kiosks, with priority given to marginalized groups. There is an emphasis on bringing in under-represented business owners like women, people of color and those who have been previously incarcerated.
“This is what needs to happen to level the playing field, or to at least acknowledge that a level playing field hasn’t existed in the past,” says Kris Nonn, Executive Director of NoLi CDC. “I think that’s important to talk about. This neighborhood is an important example of where you can see the disparity clear as day and yet the options and opportunities to address that disparity are few and far between. We want this to be a place that that can happen.”
Julietta Market is located inside Greyline Station. Open hours vary by vendor.
This article also appears on page 16 of the December 2020 print edition of ace magazine.
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