Soulard Farmers Market

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Anyone heard about any movement on the renovation? This is such an asset for a city and it really needs some attention.
Current vendors are holding it up. Fear a drastic transformation will price them out. Basically a gentrification issue.

Funding is also an issue. Some said that recent projects like the Arch Grounds siphoned money away and consumed much of the corporate donors.
so 2.5 years later... are vendors still obstructing any substantial improvements to the market? this sh*t is unreasonable. structures have to be maintained.
Good question. Anyone know?


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Agreed, this place is a gem and needs to be updated.
ImprovSTL wrote:
Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:23 pm
Agreed, this place is a gem and needs to be updated.
Updates would be great, I'm just hoping for maintenance. Keeping a building from deteriorating isn't asking for much.
Maybe a dumb question but how do the vendors have any say? Do they have to help pay for improvements? If not, then why do they even get a say in it? If it has something to do with a contract for their space, I would just change the contracts whenever they renew to say the place can do upgrades without their consent.
^ my guess is that vendors are threatening to pull out for fear that their rents will increase.
jshank83 wrote:Maybe a dumb question but how do the vendors have any say? Do they have to help pay for improvements? If not, then why do they even get a say in it? If it has something to do with a contract for their space, I would just change the contracts whenever they renew to say the place can do upgrades without their consent.
A proposal comes out for changes. Vendors say the changes that will enhance the market will also hike rent pushing them out in favor of vendors with the capability to absorb the rent. They band together and make noise. Proposal gets shelved and we are stuck with an underperforming asset.


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All seems kind of silly - if the tenants are threatening to leave because they're worried that the rent will force them out, then what exactly is the risk from the owner's perspective? Not much leverage if your threat is to do the exact thing you say you don't want to happen - i.e. vacate. If you raise rent, they leave one way or another.

If the market for the improved space warrants a rent increase, that typically means you've got some tenants behind them that are willing to pay it or it's valuable enough to the entrenched tenant that they will pony up. If you have neither, raising rent is not a great business decision.

Regardless, Soulard Market could certainly use a few touch-ups.
Soulard Market needs a deep cleaning, fresh paint and some basic infrastructure-type improvements. That's it. We don't need it to be some yuppie-laden nonsense, too much like a whole foods.

The current clientele is a perfect representation of the people who actually live in the city and it needs to stay that way.

As a city-owned asset, it needs some city-tax-payer investments. why it hasn't? not sure.

and, of course, I'm biased. Lived blocks away for a long time.
I personally love the place. I do think they could clean it up a bit without fundamentally changing the clients/vendors. Just don't muscle out Peter's Pork Rinds.
soulardx wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:20 pm
Soulard Market needs a deep cleaning, fresh paint and some basic infrastructure-type improvements. That's it. We don't need it to be some yuppie-laden nonsense, too much like a whole foods.

The current clientele is a perfect representation of the people who actually live in the city and it needs to stay that way.

As a city-owned asset, it needs some city-tax-payer investments. why it hasn't? not sure.

and, of course, I'm biased. Lived blocks away for a long time.
Absolutely, I love the market and the zoo because it represents STL so well. I think you can update it without losing its appeal. One plan that I really liked was putting rolling doors in to make it more walkable in the winter.
Kick all the vendors out that buy food at produce row. Keep all the ones that grow their own produce. Have a few more eateries.


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downtown2007 wrote:
Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:55 pm
Kick all the vendors out that buy food at produce row. Keep all the ones that grow their own produce. Have a few more eateries.


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That sounds like a great way to make it a clone of the Kirkwood farmer's market. Or any of a thousand other little fancy trendy suburban farmer's markets. Soulard is special. And it's really not a Farmer's Market in the modern trendy sense. It's a grocery. I'm all in favor of supporting small independent grocers. And produce row, for that matter. There's plenty of space for both. I'd kill to have the South Public Market open in the same way. Or the old market at Hampton Village that later became a Schnucks. Or the Union Farmer's Market. Or the one on Biddle for that matter. All of them used to be more or less the same thing. Soulard is a little fragment of a bygone era. No reason to update it so much that it's the same as everyone else's stuff. It's that bygone era that gives it its charm. It absolutely needs those grocers.
symphonicpoet wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:04 am
downtown2007 wrote:
Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:55 pm
Kick all the vendors out that buy food at produce row. Keep all the ones that grow their own produce. Have a few more eateries.


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That sounds like a great way to make it a clone of the Kirkwood farmer's market. Or any of a thousand other little fancy trendy suburban farmer's markets. Soulard is special. And it's really not a Farmer's Market in the modern trendy sense. It's a grocery. I'm all in favor of supporting small independent grocers. And produce row, for that matter. There's plenty of space for both. I'd kill to have the South Public Market open in the same way. Or the old market at Hampton Village that later became a Schnucks. Or the Union Farmer's Market. Or the one on Biddle for that matter. All of them used to be more or less the same thing. Soulard is a little fragment of a bygone era. No reason to update it so much that it's the same as everyone else's stuff. It's that bygone era that gives it its charm. It absolutely needs those grocers.
Yeah, I think the new plan if I remember correctly was to separate those two things, to have one row of local farmers and one of the resellers so we don't lose the cheap food part of it.
ImprovSTL wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:22 am
Yeah, I think the new plan if I remember correctly was to separate those two things, to have one row of local farmers and one of the resellers so we don't lose the cheap food part of it.
That's good to hear. Not 100% sure what I think of segregating the two things one from the other, but I seem to recall that Soulard was a big part of what keeps Produce Row in business . . . and Produce Row is invaluable to the local restaurant scene; for helping folks obtain high quality fresh ingredients at reasonable prices and so forth. This story was years and years ago, so things may have changed, but things often have odd symbiotic relationships that aren't easily visible. I know resellers are remarkably unpopular with some farmer's market crowds elsewhere, but they can have a place. And in this case they just might be a vital part of several somethings that appear completely unrelated.