The City of Rochester Public Market has received a $50,000 grant from the Rochester Economic Development Organization (REDCO) to help assist Market vendors who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The grant will be used to offset some of the financial hardships small business owners, entrepreneurs and local farmers that operate out of the Market have experienced as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Throughout the pandemic, the Public Market has been deemed an essential retailer and continues to provide much-needed access to fresh, affordable produce and other foods to area residents. While the Market has remained open, there has been a 40 – 60 percent decrease in the number of shoppers.
Due to COVID regulations, non-essential vendors were unable to operate their businesses for several months and prepared food vendors were limited to providing takeout orders only. In addition, the enormously popular Flower City Days at the Market horticultural sales were cancelled, and the start of the spring Community Garage Sales event series was significantly delayed. These rapid and unexpected changes contributed to plummeting vendor and Market revenue.
To provide relief for vendors, Mayor Lovely Warren and the staff at the Public Market worked with REDCO to identify creative ways to provide direct assistance to the numerous small businesses and entrepreneurs who regularly vend at the Market. At the Mayor’s direction, reduced vending fees for the months of April and May had already been instituted. However, unless additional funding could be identified, continuance of these reduced vendor rates would not be possible without severely impacting the finances of both the Market and the City. Thanks to the REDCO grant, the Market will be able to continue its relief to vendors throughout the remainder of the summer.
Rochester Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) is a not-for-profit development corporation that was established in 1983 and is dedicated to stimulating and increasing business investment in the city of Rochester, New York. REDCO’s purpose is the creation and retention of jobs, as well as providing viable commercial services for city residents.
According to REDCO CEO Baye Muhammad, the organization constantly works with the City of Rochester to find ways to support small businesses that often are not eligible to participate in larger economic stimulus programs. “This Grant represents a win/win for the Market and REDCO and we are proud to help support the over 160 small businesses that comprise the Market’s license holders,” said Muhammad.
The Market remains open with regular hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturdays from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.