HUMBOLDT PARK — A neighborhood market and cafe carrying a changing selection of locally made products has opened on Humboldt Park’s Division Street.
Rotating Market, 2627 W. Division St., sells everything from coffee and smoothies to handmade gifts and haircare products. Fifteen local businesses are represented in the market, which served its first customers last week.
The goal of the market and cafe is to support local vendors who are struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic, co-owner Thao Tran said.
“They need a place to continue with their business, but they don’t have an outlet,” Tran said.
Tran said she and her business partner also want to support women- and Black-owned small businesses that don’t always have the easiest time getting their products in traditional stores.
Tran, 27, has worked in the restaurant industry since she moved to Chicago from Vietnam 11 years ago. She said she’s watched women and minority entrepreneurs struggle to grow their businesses and she wants to create opportunities for those entrepreneurs to thrive.
“It’s harder if you’re a woman- or a Black-owned business. … Unless you know somebody, you won’t get your products in the store,” she said.
Shoppers can expect a wide range of menu items and products at Rotating Market. Ice cream pops from Pretty Cool Ice Cream, Southern Elegance candles and Fix & Fogg peanut butter are just a few examples. Those who order online can get products delivered in under an hour. Pickup is also available.
The plan is to switch out the selection every one or two months, but Tran said they’ll keep products in stock for longer if they catch on in the neighborhood.
Tran manages a nearby restaurant full-time, so she enlisted high schoolers through the Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s youth employment program to help run the store.
In the upcoming months, Tran and her business partner are looking to connect with more women and Black small business owners and bring their products into the market.
“As a woman, we have to work extra, extra hard to make [an] idea come to life,” she said.
Rotating Market is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.
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