Boubouki, the tiny stall offering authentic Greek food, will be closing for good in the Essex Street Market next week.
Rona Economou told us this afternoon she’s decided to move on to a new opportunity after 7-and-a-half years making spinach pies and baklava. Economou made a life change in 2010, after losing her job as an attorney during the Great Recession.
She called the experience in the market both amazing and hard. As the New York Times recounted in 2011, Economou would wake up every morning at 5:30 to start baking. She works six days a week and relies on her mother to pick up olive oil and flour. “I’m glad she won’t have to do that anymore,” said Economou. On the other hand, running a micro-business on the Lower East Side afforded her life experiences she could never have imagined. Economou has forged strong relationships with her customers. One 90-year-old woman visits Boubouki twice a week, depending o the little shop for meals.
In 2015, several Essex Street Market vendors closed down, citing a drop in foot traffic. Since that time, the Economic Development Corp. (which runs the market), the Vendor Association and the Lower East Side Partnership have worked together to provide better marketing support for the merchants. Meanwhile, they’re pointing towards a move to a new expanded facility in the new Essex Crossing development this coming fall. A new vendor, Dominican Cravings, is scheduled to open in the next few weeks.
Economou said she feels that businesses all over the Lower East Side are struggling due to low foot traffic. She doesn’t feel it’s an issue exclusive to the market.
Boubouki’s last day selling food will be this coming Tuesday.