Spring at the Essex Street Market: New Vendors, New Programs

Photo: Essex Street Market Vendor Association.

Photo: Essex Street Market Vendor Association.

Over at the Essex Street Market, the spring season is bringing new vendors and new programs. Here’s an update on what’s happening.

Per the latest e-blast from the Vendor Association, Essex Olive Oil & Spice House will be debuting before April is over. Shoppers will be able pick up bulk spices, oils, olives, pickled vegetables and other gourmet delicacies. The shop will open later this month in a stall across from New Star Fish Market. We understand it’s the first of a few new merchants who will be added to the retail mix in the next several weeks/months.

Coming up on Saturday, the market will kick off spring with a pre-Easter celebration. Kids can decorate their own Easter bunny and fill eggs with treats from Economy Candy. The festivities take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the stall across from Luna Brothers Grocery.

Looking ahead, an annual block party will take place on Essex Street Sat., May 20.

In other Essex Street Market news, the Lower East Side Partnership has been awarded a $30,000 grant to help the vendors with marketing and programming. The funding comes from Avenue NYC, an initiative of the Department of Small Business Services.

Partnership President Tim Laughlin tells us the city agency is also assigning a Neighborhood 360° Fellow to work on projects at the Essex Street Market. The main focus of this new position will be engaging public housing residents. The vendors will be moving across Delancey Street next year to an expanded market as part of the big Essex Crossing project. Making sure the low- and middle-income residents who have shopped in the market for decades continue to do so is a high priority of the Neighborhood 360° initiative. A companion program, Fresh Bites, will continue to offer cooking demos aimed at preparing affordable and healthy meals using vegetarian ingredients.

In the final year of operations in the current facility, said Laughlin, the Partnership is stepping up its efforts to increase foot traffic at the market. That’s been a struggle for the past few years. The organization has been working with Small Business Services and the Economic Development Corp. (which oversees the market) to drive more customers to Essex Street.