Another vendor has made the decision to quit the Essex Street Market. The Heritage Meat Shop, which opened in the historic facility in 2011, will begin shutting down operations this week.
The shop is a project of Heritage Meats USA, a wholesaler and online retailer specializing in heirloom breeds and “whole animal” butchering. It was the first heritage meat shop in the country. Patrick Martins, the company’s founder, told The Lo-Down that diminished foot traffic in the market and an unwillingness by market management to do anything about it, prompted the decision.
Earlier this month, we heard a similar story from Brooklyn Taco, which chose to close its stall after three years in the market. More closures are expected in the weeks to come. By our count, there will be six vacant stalls (out of 22) as the market heads into its 75th anniversary celebration. The facility will eventually be moving across to the south side of Delancey Street into the new Essex Crossing development. The current market is staying open until that time. Vendors are increasingly worried they won’t make it another three years in a building that appears to be on a downward spiral.
Tomorrow we’ll have a more detailed story concerning the situation at the Essex Street Market, including (we hope) reaction from the city, which operates the facility. In the past, officials with the city’s Economic Development Corp. have said they strive to work closely with all of the merchants to meet their needs and to cultivate a vibrant shopping environment.
Heritage Meats took over a conspicuous stall in the center of the market that was the longtime home of Jeffrey’s Meats. The previous proprietor, Jeffrey Ruhalter, went out of business after a steep rent increase.
UPDATE 1:45 p.m. A point of clarification. EDC officials tell us there will actually be four available stalls at the market in the coming months. They’ll be seeking to fill the Heritage Meats and Brooklyn Taco stalls, as well as the space currently occupied by Essex Flowers, a business that has operated out of the market for less than a year. Recently, the owner told EDC management he would not be renewing his permit when it’s up at the end of March. The fourth space to be filled is the former Two Brothers Clothing shop, which was embroiled in a protracted legal battle with the city. Two other spaces – an area currently being used for seating alongside the Heritage Meat Market and the former stall occupied by cookie purveyor Beurre & Sel – are not available for rent in the near term.