The El Paso Farm and Artisan Market Park, or “EP Market Park (EPMP)” for short, is a proposed non-profit cooperative aimed at aiding businesses and creatives that are currently too small to obtain permanent business premises by providing safe and comfortable community centered facilities which can be utilized on a sliding scale of consistency through daily commerce, regularly occurring events and special event capacities.
The EP Market Park functions as a venue for co-op members to vend their wares in a space that is designed to be as comfortable for sellers and shoppers as a larger “shopping mall” experience, only on a smaller and more affordable scale.
Imagine the open space of a grassy city park, with trees and benches for families to sit and eat or rest and enjoy the moment. At one end of this park is a stage where local musicians and performers may address the audience. At the other is a spacious parking lot where customers may park behind a row of segregated parking dedicated for food trucks and artisan pop-up restaurants.
Bounded on either side of this open air ‘mall’ are permanent structures similar to self-storage units. They range in size, but all are enclosed from wind, rain, sun and the elements. Each is equipped with amenities such as air/heat, power, security cameras and each is designed to present a storefront for the vendor utilizing it, with built in shelving/grid wall, and canopied shade coverings for customers.
All proceeds from the sale of vendor spaces on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule would benefit the non-profit by providing operating costs for the facility and helping to maintain the continual state of its cleanliness and accessibility. Vendors would be members of the co-op who would like to take advantage of a clean, safe and comfortable space to sell their products and services without the need for a lengthy contract or rental agreement. Promoters would be able to reserve the facility for special events such as holidays or celebrations like graduations or grand openings, and the co-op would be able to provide space that generates revenue the whole community benefits from.
Here at Boomla Designs, our main revenue stream comes from local Farmers and Art Markets. These markets are often held in the parking lots of local businesses during off hours (and sometimes duringoperating hours) which, as you can imagine begets a series of issues that continually need to be addressed market after market. In our first year doing these type of Point-of-Sale interactions we have identified several issues that each and every vendor face.
The top five issues that I would like to address are:
2. Elements of Environment
3. Power Supply
To address these issues with the creation of a facility such as the proposed EP Market Park would benefit not only the budding community of local artisans but the larger community surrounding the city of El Paso as well. The EP Market park would be a model for a new type of vendor/customer interaction that has not been made easily available to small businesses that are not capable of securing traditional business premises.
1. The EP Market Park (see illustration) would provide adequate parking for vendors directly behind the space that serves as their point of sale. This both eliminates the need for vendors to compete with customers over parking spaces, and eliminates the rush and struggle for vendors to unload their displays and products and then have to move their vehicle to find parking (often further away than customers.) It would also serve the purpose of eliminating the need of local businesses to sublet their own parking lots both to the markets themselves and further reducing parking space for customers who offer patronage to the business rather than the market. Customers of the EP Market Park would have their own spacious and convenient parking lot adjacent to a dedicated row of parking for food truck and artisan pop-up restaurants.
2. There have been multiple occasions during the past year that we have been forced to cancel in-person market appearances due to inclement weather conditions such as rain or wind advisories. Even when it is not IMPOSSIBLE to vend products at a market, they are often outdoors and being in the 104-degree sun for eight hours in mid-summer is an unbiasedly uncomfortable condition. The EP Market Park would provide both climate control conditions that help to mitigate both the vendors/customers comfort, and help to preserve the integrity of farm-fresh products; as well as durable shade coverings outside the vendor spaces to help shade customers and provide shelter in the event of rain. This would provide a guaranteed venue for businesses like ours that can’t afford to take the financial hit when a market is cancelled on the account of weather.
3. The type of markets to which I have been referring occur at various times during the day and night. While daylight is fine for customers to browse and peruse products, night markets offer the challenge of individual lighting which as you can imagine tend to be wildly different solutions from vendor to vendor. Having a structure with built-in fluorescent lighting would both eliminate the need for businesses sponsoring the markets to provide power to the entire parking lot, and greatly empower vendors to provide a uniform and consistent storefront during night time markets. Also vendors with the need to power a point-of-sale system such as a cash register or tablet enabled card-charger (square system) would no longer need to rely on battery operated devices to process sales.
4. Many, if not most of the markets we have attended in the past year do not provide security guards or any type of monitoring. Event promoters have always been present and are able to assist with unplanned occurrences such as spills or giving directions to restroom facilities. However, on the rare occasion that we have had to mitigate a dispute or have had product shoplifted, there is no one from the market with the authority to intervene in a professional third-party capacity. The EP Market Park would be able to provide both security cameras to collect footage monitoring illicit activities, but would also provide a venue through which grants may be obtained to employ an actual person whose role would be to provide and monitor the safety, security and well-being of every person using the facility,
5. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, the EP Market Park will provide a consistent solution to the issues I’ve just addressed; problems which will no longer need unique and innovative solutions for each specific market. A facility such as EP Market Park solves these problems once, and they never become problems again. Co-op members will have the benefit of knowing ahead of time what to expect from their neighbor vendors, from event promoters and from the venue itself. Each and every time, reliability and dependability matter.
If you are interested in more information about joining our Co-op, or about how to join the effort to help create a sustainable and consistent local market space, please send us an email at:
Thank You -
AP @ Boomla Designs