We believe that successful public markets, from small neighborhood farmers markets to urban market districts, achieve three goals: they are great community gathering places; are economically sustainable; and have a broad impact on their community’s development. This convergence is what makes public markets not only good places for vendors and customers, but for the market’s surrounding community.
However, public markets can only have a broad impact if they are economically sustainable business enterprises for both vendors and management alike. Markets are more economically successful if they also work as social places for community. PPS works with markets to achieve all three goals. With the right plan, business mix, and management a public market can represent a real step forward for the renewal of downtowns and neighborhoods.
Today, markets are thriving in both the US and abroad. Advocating for markets worldwide, PPS works closely with the World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM) to promote the value of public markets to a wider, global audience. While countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America have retained their traditional market culture, they now share with the U.S. a new interest in celebrating their markets’ numerous benefits.
Our Approach to Different Types of Markets
Open-Air Markets, including flea, craft and farmers markets are the most popular form of markets in the U.S. today. Farmers markets, the most prolific of this type in the U.S., have grown from 1,700 to 5,000 markets in just 15 years. These markets seem deceptively simple to open and operate. Yet, they require careful planning and effective management if they are to be centers of sustainable local economies and community life.
PPS helps new markets get started on the path to success, helping market sponsors determine feasibility. We help both new and existing markets grow – by developing plans to add new market days or other markets in a market network, or by adding new indoor or covered facilities. We help connect markets to new community partners, which can provide financial support as well as help build a customer base. We design “markets as public spaces”; integrating an open-air market more effectively into a public space and helping it become a central community gathering place. We assist managers become better at their jobs.
Public Market Halls The once thriving tradition of indoor market halls in the U.S. was once seen as obsolete. Most markets closed, were torn down or converted into other uses. However, surviving markets such as the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, and North Market in Columbus showed the tremendous reinvestment opportunity for public markets in today’s world of shopping malls and retail chains.
PPS has a particularly wide experience with the some 100 historic market halls still operating in the U.S., helping these markets evolve to attract today’s customers. We evaluate the feasibility of expansion and improvement of these markets; help create new, entrepreneurial management; train vendors to have more profitable businesses; and develop renovation plans for facilities to make them more customer-friendly.
Because new market halls are challenging to develop and operate successfully, we often recommend a phased approach to development with a strong emphasis on making these markets work as successful public spaces. Today’s markets can offer a wide range of forms, such as a combination indoor/outdoor facility, which is cost effective and can still feature a critical mass of product to make the market a real public attraction.
Market Districts Public markets build and support the places in which they are found. Truly successful public markets are anchors for entire districts that have a variety of places to shop, stroll and be entertained, such as the Pike Place Market in Seattle. These districts are places where people want to live and work.
Market districts are the most evolved form of markets. PPS has worked with nearly all of the historic market districts in the U.S, and has assisted cities to create new districts. We use a collaborative process when working with districts so that public markets are better able to coordinate and manage relationships with the district’s many stakeholder groups, while remaining at the heart of the district.