We Tried Out the Essex Street Market’s New Online Delivery Service

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Our first attempt at using the Essex Street Market’s new delivery service turned out well.

Recently, the vendors at the historic Lower East Side market teamed up with Mercato, a company that helps independent businesses establish an online marketplace. After placing an order this past Thursday, we opted for Friday delivery (same day delivery was available; it just wasn’t convenient for us). Our order, which included items from five separate merchants, arrived on time, with nothing missing, nothing damaged.

Here’s what we got: Some potatoes from Luna Brothers grocery, a piece of smoked and peppered wild bluefish from Nordic Preserves, a jar of garlic powder from Essex Olive & Spice House, strawberry jam from Formaggio Essex and some butter from Saxelby Cheesemongers.  The bottom line: This service seems like a great option for anyone who wants to support the local shops inside the Essex Street Market, rather than patronizing big corporate delivery operators. There are more than 1400 items available, including many unique products you won’t find elsewhere.

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Not all of the stores are participating. Here’s a look at the Essex Street Market vendors offering online delivery:

  • Luna Brothers Fruit Plaza
  • Essex Olive Oil & Spice House
  • Nordic Preserves
  • Ni Japanese Deli
  • Formaggio Essex
  • Rainbo’s Fish
  • Tra La La Juice Bar
  • Peasant Stock
  • Arancini Bros.
  • Puebla Mexican Food
  • Davidovich Bakery
  • Saxelby Cheesemongers
  • Osaka Grub
  • I.M. Pastry Studio

 

Mercato does normally charge a delivery fee, but at the moment there’s a free delivery promotion. When completing your order, you just type in, “ESSEXMKTFREE.” You might have seen the Mercato team in the market this past weekend passing out postcards to build support for the new program.

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Lauren Margolis, vendor services coordinator, told us the merchants themselves requested a delivery service. The idea was championed by Saad Bourkadi, owner of Essex Olive & Spice House, which has only been operating in the market for about six months. Margolis said it was important to everyone that at least one of three Essex Street Market groceries signed up, as well as one of two fish markets. She’s hopeful more vendors will sign on in the future. Amy Yu, a Neighborhood 360 fellow, researched delivery options and helped the vendors settle on Mercato as the best option.

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On Sunday, we stopped by the market to talk with Saad Bourkadi.  He’s taken a leadership role in coordinating the Mercato deliveries. When customers place online orders, the vendors bring items to his counter to be assembled for the delivery service.  “It’s really a wonderful thing,” said Bourkadi. “I’m in contact with every vendor. It was my way of showing some good will and being part of this community.”

Delivery is available throughout Manhattan, not just on the Lower East Side. You can schedule your delivery between the hours of 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. The market will, of course, be moving across Delancey Street to a new home as part of the Essex Crossing project next fall. Margolis said the delivery service is meant, at least in part, to give the merchants a boost during their last months in the existing facility.

Click here to check out the Essex Street Market’s online store.