The Milwaukee Public Market
in the city's Historic Third Ward neighborhood closed out 2019 with record setting sales and foot traffic.
Total vendor sales in 2019 totaled $19.9 million which was up 10% from $18.2 million in 2018. Total customer visits in 2019 surpassed 2 million for the first time, having increased 13% from 1.8 million in 2018 to
“What’s been remarkable is how many people we are attracting from outside the region while also maintaining a local customer base from throughout the Milwaukee metro area,” said Paul Schwartz, executive director. “Public markets are viewed nationally as a hotbed of social, cultural and culinary placemaking, and I’d like to think we’re delivering that here in Milwaukee.”
The market has also benefited from its proximity to stops for The Hop streetcar line. In an email, Schwartz said his understanding is the stop at the market is one of the most popular drop-off destinations.
"It’s been especially helpful to people staying in hotels along the route," he said. "Many of them either don’t have a car (or are restricted from in/out privileges) and therefore the streetcar is a way these visitors are getting around the downtown area."
"I would also say that anecdotally, we’re noticing the Market supplies a lot of the ridership to the people who are hopping on at the Benelux stop and going north through downtown," Schwartz added.
Total sales at the Milwaukee Public Market have grown annually since 2008 and have nearly doubled since 2012 ($9.8 million). Foot traffic has increased steadily since 2014, but saw the strongest growth from 2018 to 2019.
The market's gross sales per leasable square foot is now more than $1,500.
The public market has become a popular downtown attraction since opening in 2005. It is owned and operated by the Historic Third Ward Business Improvement District, and currently houses 18 local food vendors and retailers.