Life after leaving NewBo City Market
Some have struggled, others have thrived
Over the last year, various vendors have packed up their equipment and aprons to leave the NewBo City Market.
Some of the businesses are struggling on their own, and others are thriving.
Christopher Ryan Confections left the market in August 2013. Since leaving, owner Christopher Oekter said the bakery and café has experienced some difficulties. Last week, he reached out in a last-ditch effort to increase visits from customers.
Since then, he has received some support, but the struggle is not over.
Oetker said 2014 has been a building year as he tries to rebuild the client base he had in the city market. When he left the market, Oetker estimates he brought just a handful of customers with him.
For him, residing in the NewBo market was a double-edged sword. The heavy foot traffic brought customers, but the market's restrictions gave him less room for creativity.
If Oetker wanted to change his menu, he had to get approval. But the lack of traffic at Oetker's new space on Twixt Turn Road in Marion has pushed him to near-closure.
For Tatyana Kieler, leaving NewBo City Market meant spending more time in her shop, Tatyana's Coffee Shop and Café in Hiawatha. Kieler operated out of the market for a year, selling her traditional Russian dishes.
After NewBo City Market said in February it would not renew her lease, Kieler was forced to operate solely out of her store.
Kieler sold the nearly $10,000 worth of equipment she used exclusively in the market.
Kieler said she has been fortunate that some of her customers from the market venture to Hiawatha to purchase food, but some have not visited because of her café's distance from downtown Cedar Rapids.
Sydney Rieckhoff, co-owner of the Great American Popcorn Store, closed her business — The Chill — after leaving the market in February. Rieckhoff operates out of a storefront in the Jacobs Building, next to Parlor City — across the street from her former location.
NewBo City Market still brings her customers three days a week, although Rieckhoff maintains the business has drawn some customers on its own.
“There's a lot of foot traffic and with our business that's something we really need,” the 16-year-old Rieckhoff said. “It's nice to see those people who visited us across the street.”