Chocolate & Cheese: Launching Businesses at the Essex Street Market

Co-owners - a man and a woman - of Saxelby Cheesemongers, both in striped shirts, stand behind a counter that is filled with cheeses on display. There is a chalkboard in the background that lists out a variety of cheeses.

Owned and operated by the city, the Essex Street Market provides a diverse array of fresh, high-quality, and affordable food options to local residents, as well as opportunities for new food entrepreneurs to set up shop with more reasonable rents than are usually found in New York City. In this week’s post, we profile two women who grew their businesses grew out of stalls measuring just 100 square feet – Anne Saxelby of Saxelby Cheesemongers and Rhonda Kave of Roni-Sue’s Chocolates.

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Fishmongers of the Essex Street Market

Whether you’re looking for salmon, tilapia, porgy, or mussels, fishmongers at the Essex Street Market have got you covered. Step inside the market today and you find two stalls selling fish, Rainbo Fish and New Star Fish Market, both of which are family-owned and operated with roots in the market going back decades.

And like most fish sellers – whether they are retailers, restaurants, or supermarkets – these market vendors get most of their product from a single source, the Fulton Fish Market. Being a seaport city, fish has always been an important part of New York’s economy and culture. Opened in 1817, the Fulton Fish Market was a sprawling complex hosting fishermen, wholesalers, and buyers in Lower Manhattan. The market became a major target of Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s efforts to reform and modernize the city’s food distribution system. In 1935, the mayor wrested control of the market from the Department of Docks and placed it instead in the hands of the Department of Public Markets, to work in concert with the city’s growing network of retail and terminal markets, and in 1939, the New Market Building opened at the end of Fulton Street.>> Continue reading

City Council Set to Vote to Lower Fines on Street Vendors

Wednesday is a big day for New York City’s street vendors.  After months of stalling, the speaker of the City Council (and mayoral candidate) Christine Quinn has finally promised to bring to a vote legislation to reduce and simplify fines imposed on vendors.  This vote comes after years of campaigning and lobbying by the Street Vendor Project, including months of plastering posters with Speaker Quinn’s face on carts across the city to pressure her to call the vote.>> Continue reading