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The Maxwell Street Market Vendors Association Wants You To Like Them

The New Maxwell Street Market, on Desplaines Avenue between Roosevelt and Polk, has been in decline for several years; fewer vendors and fewer shoppers.

Once the largest open-air market in Chicago, it had 1,200 vendors in 1994 in its original location. Now, on Desplaines, it has less than 100.

This has been caused by higher vendor fees; unnecessary expensive regulations, out of line with other outdoor markets in Chicagoland; city management unfriendly to the vendors; and city management disinterested in stemming the downward trend.

But the vendors have come to the rescue of the Market and formed the Maxwell Street Market Vendors Association. Their motto is "United in Justice, In Service to the Community, In Support to our Families."

The Association is multicultural and bilingual and is also known as El Maxwell Street Market Asociacion de Vendedores. The President is vendor David Petty, who is African American.

Their goals are to negotiate with the city to change the operation and structure of the Market and bring back its function as a business incubator, weekly multicultural celebration, and social safety net.

The Market is about half the size it can be. The Maxwell Street Market Vendors Association hopes that the Market could again provide a great opportunity for nascent entrepreneurs with few resources to test out their business ideas at low cost and be in an environment with other budding entrepreneurs who can provide advice and support.

Maxwell Street provided a step-up on the ladder towards economic well-being for my ancestors. It can do it again for Chicagoans who do not have a foothold. It seems morally reprehensible that, with the unemployment rate more than 20% on the South and West Sides, the New Maxwell Street Market should have so much empty space. Families could be eating better and kids could have an alternative to crime and violence.

The city will not negotiate with the Maxwell Street Market Vendors Association unless the Association can show community support. They have endorsements from U.S. Congressman Danny Davis and Ald. Bob Fioretti, each of whom has the Market in their constituency. Now the Association needs your support. Please "Like" them on Facebook and ask your friends to do so too.


Roosevelt University professor Steve Balkin is an advisor to the New Maxwell Street Vendors Association.


* The Maxwell Street Muddle.

* Maxwell Street Malfeasance.

* City Needs New Policy For The Maxwell Street Market: An Open Letter To Mayor-Elect Emanuel.


Comments welcome.


Posted on August 9, 2012

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