Is there enough demand for fresh homegrown food and flavors to support a year-round local market several days a week? A downtown business owner is about to find out.
Market on Market, located on (you guessed it) Market Street in downtown Tacoma, will open Sept. 1. It will be open four days a week, targeting downtown residents by opening around noon and closing in the evening.
“We’re not taking away from the farmers market,” owner Patricia Lecy-Davis said last week. “We’re creating an additional front porch for local producers to get seen on regular basis.”
For several weeks, market manager Adam Martin has contacted about 60 producers of local goods. Vendors will work on a 30-day consignment, Lecy-Davis said. The retail mark-up varies.
About 25 have signed up so far, including Gig Harbor’s Windy Payne. She started For the Love of Spice three years ago, producing hand-packed tins of herb and spice seasonings. Market on Market will be the first brick-and-mortar store to sell her product.
“I have people ask me all the time at the farmers market: What do I do in the off season if I want to buy your spices? Now I can send them to Market on Market,” she said Thursday. “I also have an online store, but this way they don’t have to pay for shipping.”
Payne’s tins sell for $6.50 at her farmers market booths, and will sell for $7.50 at Market on Market.
On Thursday, the tins shared shelf space with Lynnae’s Gourmet Pickles and Mad Hat Tea. Lecy-Davis said local bakeries are planning to participate. Market on Market also will have meat, dairy and some arts and crafts.
Market on Market is housed in converted loading dock space of the building that holds her other businesses: Embellish salon, and Smooth and Juicey. It’s a warm, funky space decorated with doors, pieces from Tacoma’s School of the Arts and a working player piano.
Lecy-Davis and Martin also plan to stock local produce, including microgreens supplied by Mack, who’s known widely by just his first name.
Market on Market complements the downtown farmers market, said executive director Janie Morris.
“I’m so on board,” Morris said. She and Lecy-Davis are trying to get several farmers to take their produce at the end of the Thursday market and sell it to Market on Market. Farmers, particularly those from Eastern Washington, don’t want to take back unsold goods.
Is Morris concerned about competition? Lecy-Davis’ shop won’t get the produce until the market is over, and it opens late, Morris said.
“The bigger picture is we have hungry people to feed. We want to get as much local food in as many mouths as we can,” she said. “If we keep that as our focus, I don’t think there’s room for competition.