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City Seeks Vendors for Devon Avenue 'Community Market'

By Benjamin Woodard | April 25, 2013 7:58am

WEST ROGERS PARK — The city is seeking vendors for a new monthly "community market" that would feature some farm produce but mostly food and merchandise from neighborhood businesses on summer Sundays, officials said.

The market, and two others in Logan Square and Uptown, is part of a city effort to offer smaller-scale farmers markets in Chicago's neighborhoods, said Yescenia Mota, the city's farmers market coordinator.

An official announcement from the mayor's office is expected Friday, but Mota briefed neighborhood residents and interested business owners on the city's plan Wednesday night at Ald. Debra Silverstein's 50th Ward office.

The Devon Avenue markets are planned for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the first Sunday of the month from July 7 to Oct. 6 at the Republic Bank's new parking lot, 2720 W. Devon Ave.

"We're really excited about this," Silverstein said. "It's something this neighborhood has needed for a while."

Mota said the three new markets would be "spin-offs" of the city's other farmers markets, like in Lincoln Square or downtown at Daley Plaza.

"Farmers markets don't work in every community," Mota said. "Obviously, you can't have a Lincoln Square market here [in West Rogers Park] — it's really diverse. It's really an opportunity for all this diversity to come together."

Mota said the city had "outgrown farmers markets," so these smaller community markets, engaging local businesses instead of regional farmers, would fill a different need in the city's neighborhoods. She said some produce from farmers would be available, however.

West Ridge Chamber of Commerce director Amie Zander said she's courting the eclectic businesses along Devon Avenue to participate.

She said some 50th Ward restaurants, like Rub's Backcountry Smokehouse, had shown an interest in the market, too.

Dushyant Sharma, of Rogers Park, attended the meeting and said he hopes to rent a booth to serve ethnic Indian food.

"People will come together and commiserate and talk and share in festivities," said Sharma, of Rogers Park.

For members of the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce, Devon Avenue market stalls cost $25 for the season for a 10-foot-by-10-foot space. For non-members, a stall costs $100.

The city plans to promote the markets like its other farmers markets, including with street banners, Mota said.

Also beginning in July, Uptown's new market is planned for Thursday nights at Argyle Street and North Broadway, while the Logan Square market is planned for Wednesday nights at Palmer Square, she said.