Market 707 expanding to two new locations
The Scadding Court Community Centre is expanding the Business out of the Box model from Market 707 to new locations.
Image: Market 707
Market 707, the eclectic collection of retrofitted, colourful shipping containers adorning the south side of Dundas near Bathurst, could be expanding to a neighborhood near you! Scadding Court Community Centre (SCCC), the organization behind the market, was in talks with city councillors last summer about expanding the Business out of the Box (BOB) model to two other neighborhood improvement areas across the city.
They brought their motions before two different city committees that fit the main components of their model at Market 707. “It is a mix of economic and social development. It’s not just about having affordable accessible space for vendors to start a business, but its also about community building and how the two can come together and actually create the neighborhoods that we are working towards,” said Effie Vlachoyannocos, Director of Development and Community Engagement at Scadding Court.
They chose to bring the motions before the Economic Development Committee in June 2014 and then to the Community Development and Recreation Committee in August of 2014. The June motion was sponsored by Councillor Michael Thompson, and the August motion by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. Both motions received unanimous support from the respective committees.
Naturally, everyone’s next question is: Where will the two new proposed shipping container markets be located? Well, SCCC doesn’t know yet. “Rather than us selecting where those neighborhoods would be, we’re actually reversing it and we’re creating a process [that is] open and hopefully inclusive and accessible for non profits, but an open process where people and organizations will actually determine themselves if they think their neighborhood is a spot where a market could thrive,” Vlachoyannocos said.
The 2013 edition of the annual fish fry hosted by Market 707.
Scadding Court Community Centre and the BOB will be launching a formal information session, where communities can come and learn about the BOB model. They will then give communities time to assess the viability of the system in their own communities as part of the expression of interest process package. Communities will need to consider if they have a feasible area for space, if it’s the right time to introduce a market, who the vendors and partners will be, and ultimately if a market like 707 would be a good fit for their community. SCCC is hoping to have these Expression of Interest submissions back by in early fall 2015. From there the SCCC and BOB will work with the submissions individually to explore the viability of the project in their own community. “The results of the EOI will determine how quickly something can move along,” Vlachoyannocos said.
She notes that if a space were to be workable as a market, the shipping containers only take around two months to be transported and retrofitted. The thing that takes the most time is figuring out whether the market will be sustainable or not. “This isn’t something that is going to need grants every year and be reliant on external factors but that it works for the vendors in order to be economically sustainable for them, it works for the nonprofits as well to be able to have the resources they need to sustain the markets,” she says, “We don’t want to set anyone up to fail. This is about neighborhoods thriving, it’s about vendors thriving, it’s individuals, it’s about our neighborhood and community centres and community groups all thriving.”
In fact, a variation of this project is already underway in McCormick Park. SCCC and BOB worked closely with Councillor Ana Bailão, of ward 18, Friends of McCormick Park, and Aangen Community Centre to create a shipping container café in the park. The single container is nestled between the Arena and Community Centre and serves daily baked goods and other nutritious snacks. “Like market 707 there was the space to support local economic development and further animate that park space so we supported the creation of a container cafe,” Vlachoyannocos said.
As June gets closer the SCCC and BOB will be ready to host their information session. Until then communities can check out the resources about BOB on their website.
“We’re really excited about this because we know that space in the city is so precious and so unaccessible for a number of people. The fact that we are able to create affordable spaces for people to practice their craft and test things out is exciting!”