Vendors still needed for Milwaukee Public Market

The Milwaukee Public Market has received commitments for 14 of the 23 permanent retail spaces in the $10.5 million project, which is under construction at the junction of downtown Milwaukee and the Historic Third Ward.
The committed vendors will occupy more than over half of the market’s 22,000 square feet of indoor retail space, according to Rebekah Schaefer, marketing and public relations director for the market.
The committed vendors include: Lisa Crum, owner of C. Adams Bakery, who will sell baked goods; Troy Withington, owner of Sushi A Go Go, who will sell sushi; Dave Jurena, co-owner of The Soup Market, who will sell soup; Tim Collins, who will sell fresh fish, smoked fish and caviar; Daleanne Weber, who will sell flowers; and Olivia and Ernesto Villarreal, the owners of the El Rey grocery stores, who will sell Mexican specialties and world produce.
The other committed vendors, whose names Schaefer said she could not disclose, include a coffee roaster, a specialty cheese vendor, a wine vendor and an organic foods vendor.
All of the vendors are local residents with wholesale or retail experience, Schaefer said.
The market is seeking a specific variety of vendors and still wants to attract two butchers, two deli vendors, a poultry vendor, an Asian grocer, a spice vendor and a chocolate vendor.
"We have active prospects for all of those categories," Schaefer said. "We’re going for people that offer something unique and different that is going to compel people to come down to the market. We’re trying to find people you might not have heard of, who bring a superior product to the table."
On weekends (from late spring to early fall), the market also will have 19 market stalls on the outside along Water Street. Farmers and other vendors have committed to those spaces for the first part of the summer, but there are still some openings in the later part of the summer, Schaefer said.
The 35,000-square-foot Milwaukee Public Market building will have 22,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor and 13,000 square feet of space on the second floor for a demonstration kitchen, administrative offices and a palm garden, where people can sip coffee and eat snacks.
"We believe 15 percent of our sales will be consumed on site," Schaefer said. The market will have 130 free parking spaces in a lot located north of the building and underneath Interstate 794. The market, which is being constructed at the corner of Water Street and St. Paul Avenue, is scheduled to open July 15.
"Ideally, we want to have all of our retail space filled by the time we open. But if we don’t, we don’t. We’re not going to make a desperate decision just to fill all of the space."
The market is owned by The Historic Third Ward Association. Vendors interested in leasing space in the market should contact market manager Brian O’Malley at (414) 336-1111.

May 27, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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