While I was there I had the opportunity to try some tilapia (yes, there's some food too) served up by Martha Sosa (photo) who operates a stand called Pure Peru. Martha hopes to eventually own the first Peruvian restaurant in the city, and with the help of this small incubator, someday her dream just might become reality. In the meantime she'll continue to operate out of the market while catering on the side (firstname.lastname@example.org). I also picked up a pair of salt and pepper shakers sold by Jean Claude who was helping to sell wares for his wife Louise Sano who happened to be in Africa on a buying trip. "You'll find people here from Palestine, Peru, Sudan, Rwanda, Nepal and of course The West Side," Bonnie Smith from WEDI told me. "This is the first time that many of them have had the opportunity to sell these types of goods. The market opens up doors for many immigrants, and although it's a bit smaller than we were hoping for it has turned out much better than expected due to the intimacy of the space."
After three days in operation, the market appears to be on its way to doing great things. Open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 6pm, there are a number of items of interest on-hand, and more on the way. Now that the entrepreneurs have had a taste of the sales end of the business, they are already talking about adding new products to the line-up. Nothing beats real customer market research. Now it's up to us, as the customer, to at least stop in and take a look around. If you really want to see this international market grow in years to come, then it's going to rely on support from the community.
West Side Bazaar
242 Grant Street