It wasnt one thing in particular that brought the East End Market to its end.
Instead, it was a group of problems that conspired to reduce the number of vendors and customers at the market in east Boise, founder and director Courtney Feider said.
Those problems include licensing difficulties, competition with Downtown Boises Saturday farmers markets, vendor disputes, political animosity and traffic issues, Feider said.
The East End Market which operated on Sundays thrived most two years ago. Then, it boasted about 55 vendors and drew crowds of as many as 1,500, Feider said.
This year, the number of vendors has dropped to around 25. Customer attendance has declined as well.
Its not gone, but its just not what it was, Feider said. And we see the writing on the wall that things are changing across the board.
Feider said the city of Boises licensing and bonding requirements were complicated enough to discourage some vendors from joining the market this year.
Boise is working to make its license requirements better reflect markets needs and challenges, Deputy City Clerk Jamie Heinzerling said. The city hopes to complete that process in time for the 2014 market season, Heinzerling said.
A few East End vendors also had booths in the Capital City Public Market or Boise Farmers Market, which splintered from the public market. Some of them brought the tensions between the other two institutions with them to the East End Market, Feider said.
We were trying to stay away from that world and any direct competition and we kind of pulled into it inadvertently, she said. Its a small world and its a small market in Boise in general, and so the world of people that do farmers markets is relatively contained.
Another problem was place. Traditionally, the market has closed down the east side of Bown Way. But transportation authorities informed the market they wouldnt allow that arrangement anymore.
The market received permission to operate on a lot along Riverwalk Drive west of Bown Way, but would have had to pay $10,000 to $15,000 to level and treat the dirt lot to keep it from getting muddy or dusty, Feider said.
In the future, Feider said, she and other market officials will focus their efforts on helping small organizations like Global Gardens, a program sponsored by the Idaho Office for Refugees that provides refugees with farm and garden space in the Treasure Valley.
We are sad to close the market, but happy to have had four successful years working with wonderful vendors, merchants, and patrons in the Bown Crossing neighborhood, Feider said in a news release announcing the closure. The things we have learned on this journey are invaluable, and the relationships lasting.
Sven Berg: 377-6275