Mark your calendars! It’s market season in YEG!
Grab your reusable cloth bags, layer up, and clear your Thursday night schedule for the summer: Edmonton’s 124th Street Grand Market is kicking off the 2019 season on Thursday, May 9 but now it will be in two locations. The market will be held at 108 Avenue and 124 Street from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and at 102 Avenue and 124 Street from 11 to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
Since 2012, the outdoor market along 124 Street and 108 Avenue has been a space for local vendors to sell their wares to loyal Edmontonians hoping to shop locally grown produce and support YEG crafted businesses. With over 100 vendors, the weekly pop up market has an impressive array of food, drink, clothing, art and lifestyle goods.
Among their returning anchor vendors are Truffula Vegan Creamery, Mojojojo’s Pickles, Drift Food Truck, Steve and Dan’s BC Fruit, Reclaim Organic Farm, and Archive Boutique.
This year, they will also introduce a few new vendors—such as Natty Sask Farms, Troubled Monk Brewing, Wishbone Wellness, and Bonjour Bakery.
Krista Franke, the founder of 124 Grand Market says patrons can expect the “same great line of top notch curated vendors” each week.
Though the Grand Market has quickly become an Edmontonian favorite, it’s not the only market to be returning this month.
Between May and October, the City Market Downtown attracts 18,000 visitors to Edmonton’s downtown core.
But now, the attraction is on the move.
For the last 14 years, the market has been located on 104th Street, but there was concern about whether the market would stay at that location because of the LRT construction just blocks away.
The City Market website has been taken offline, but a document circulated by the Edmonton Downtown Farmer’ Market Association (EDFMA) in March 2019, along with an emailed statement from Sarb Dhaliwal, chair of EDFMA, shows that the beloved outdoor market will be moving indoors.
“While 104 Street has been our home for nearly fifteen years, and we’ve cherished the memories we’ve made there, we always knew we would one day need to move on to a more permanent location,” Dhaliwal’s email states.
The new indoor market will be located in Great Western Garment (GWG) Building, one of downtown’s heritage buildings along 97th Street and 103rd Avenue. The plan is for the building to host 100 permanent vendors on the main floor.
Black Diamond Distillery’s David Scade says the change is beneficial to vendors. Black Diamond produces vodka, liqueur, and soon gin from their St. Albert distillery.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to move a market indoors and have it year round,” says Scade.
Having a space to store inventory is helpful since Black Diamond’s products are quite heavy. Storing product could mean more stock, and that could lead to bigger sales for the family run distillery. Traditionally, the distillers haven’t been able to sell at the Downtown Market indoors due to City Hall’s regulations.
But access to this space will also require payment upfront.
“I think there will be some hesitations from some vendors but people will look at the big vision of what they are investing in for their business and I think they will go for it.”
For small businesses and entrepreneurs in Edmonton, the access to these markets can make or break their success.
“ These kinds of markets let us grow so we can take these businesses and run them as a full time gig,” Scade says. “We see that with friends of ours who have started in the market and now they are brick and mortar.”
Patrons like Mitchel Ferguson are not pleased with the market moving indoors.
“It was my favorite market,” Ferguson says. “It won’t be dog friendly anymore either, so it’s losing all the appeal to me.”
Though the new indoor market will be open multi-day, and may attract a larger crowd, Krista Franke doesn’t see the new Downtown Farmers’ Market as threat to the 124 Grand Market’s success.
“We have never tried to compete in the same category as either of the large markets in town and folks see us as a stand-out choice for a mid-sized curated market location season after season. I suspect we will see an uptick in traffic with City Markets location being further east.”
For small business owner Brian Maclean of Boocha Beverages is excited for the new market’s potential, and the ability to sell at multiple markets around the city.
“Outdoor season is awesome. Edmonton is a winter city and everyone gets into hibernation, so it’s nice to get back outside and see the city come alive.”
No matter the market, be sure to take in some local Edmonton flare at one of the city’s many open concept and YEG grown retailers.