Discovering that it’s become a launchpad for startups, the Whittier Farmers Market is using a grant from the Minneapolis Great Streets program to provide small business coaching.
The farmers market provided early experience for businesses like Wesley Andrews, now a brick-and-mortar coffeehouse at 111 E. 26th St., and Hoyo Sambusas, now available at local grocers and co-ops like the Wedge, Seward and Lakewinds.
Hoyo, founded with a mission to employ and empower Somali women, spent two summers at the market. The exposure led to an introduction with the Wedge Co-op, and gave them a chance to taste-test the basbaas sauce now sold in grocery stores.
“People loved it, and it was validating,” said CEO Matt Glover.
“We’re trying to focus as much as we can on business owners in the neighborhood, and see what we can do to help them along,” said Dean Caldwell Tautges, a vendor manager who worked with the Whittier Alliance to secure the grant.
The $5,000 grant covers one-on-one business coaching and market rent reductions for new businesses.
New vendors at the market this year include Happy Fingers eggrolls, Ink ‘N Flower and Wild Child Bakery. Youth are selling salsa through Centro Tyrone Guzman, bringing family recipes complete with their photos on the jars.
The market is every Saturday from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Calvary lot at 26th & Blaisdell.