For the first time since opening in 2015, Boston Public Market is actively searching for New England prepared-food makers to add to its permanent vendor roster.
The 28,000-square-foot Hanover Street marketplace is always looking for new vendors, but head of vendor recruitment Carrie DeWitt said the pandemic led to financial hardships and other circumstances that compelled several permanent sellers to shut down. Now, they need about five to seven new merchants to fill their spaces.
“A lot of people around the country have made big life changes coming out of COVID, and our small-business owners are obviously no different,” DeWitt said in an interview. “We found ourselves with a few openings for prepared food, which is usually something that we have no openings for.”
Any new vendors would be joining the likes of Bon Appetit Crêperie, Boston Beer Alley, Boston Honey Company, and Q’s Nuts. For about 13 vendors, DeWitt said, Boston Public Market has been their first retail venture. There are typically about 30 permanent merchants at Boston Public Market, along with pop-ups.
After the closure of Noodle Lab, DeWitt said the Market is looking for a new ramen merchant. Among the other gaps in the Market, she said, are plant-based or vegetarian food makers, and artisans of body products, such as lotions, soaps, or makeups.
“We see it as a great opportunity to sort of re-curate things a little bit, which we’re really excited about,” said Boston Public Market CEO Cheryl Cronin.
To fill a permanent spot at Boston Public Market, vendors must produce and operate in New England and commit to at least a six-month lease at the market. As a vendor, there are opportunities to hold classes, demonstrations, or other events. “We’re really looking for somebody who wants to be an active part of that community and is excited about collaborating with the other small businesses in the space,” DeWitt said.
The Market was closed for six months following the onset of the pandemic, but Cronin said foot traffic has more than doubled since March 2021, with 85,000 patrons coming through the space in July.
“There really are a lot of people out there who are looking for new and different opportunities, whether that’s because they had to shutter something during the pandemic or they have a new idea for what they want to do with their career, and we’re here to support that,” DeWitt said. “It’s a great opportunity to connect with people in downtown Boston … you’ll literally interact with thousands of people every day at the market.”