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CEDAR RAPIDS - NewBo City Market is revamping empty vending spaces to make them safer and more appealing in time for new businesses to move in.
With the pandemic causing businesses to close up shop at the Market, Julie Parisi, NewBo City Market's director of business development, said the organization was able to take a closer look at the empty areas.
Organizers decided the spaces needed an update, including fortifying walls and fixing wiring and plumbing.
There generally is less foot traffic around this time of year, Parisi said, so the timing worked out.
'Having those businesses gone, and the spaces vacant kind of really showed us some of the deterioration that has happened with high volume businesses being in there for so many years,” Parisi said.
More than 60 businesses have operated out of NewBo City Market for varying stretches of time since 2012.
Three businesses from the market's opening still are there - La Reyna, Big Boy Meats and Roasters Coffeehouse. Others have left the incubator to open their own locations.
Work began in early March, Parisi said, and was finished by March 9. Rebuilding began Monday and is expected to be finished by the end of the month.
A cost estimate for the renovations wasn't available, Parisi said.
One contractor is working on all the walls, making the market as a whole look more uniform and ensuring they're safe.
'It'll feel a little bit more. I would say, professional, that they've all been done properly and it'll give people a really good solid like foundation to be able to get their business inside of that space and make it look good,” Parisi said.
While this wasn't planned, Parisi said, the renovations will be finishing up as businesses in the Hatchery program start to move in.
NewBo City Market announced the creation of the Hatchery, a business development program, in late January. The program is geared toward serving those who historically face barriers to starting a business, such as women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community.
Participating entrepreneurs work with the market on a business plan and financial information to prepare them to open a business in the market.
Parisi said there's been a lot of interest in the program, with three businesses already participating and six more working with her to help get their business started.
Herbally Anointed already opened through the program, and Not Anything Specific and Tiny Yarn Shop are set to open in March and April, respectively.
The Market remains open during the renovations, Parisi said.
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