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Displaced Boise refugee businesses get temporary holiday home

Kibrom Milash, shown here in October with his daughter Naomi Abraha, is one of the displaced Boise International Market businesspeople who will be featured in the Global Community Market starting Saturday.
Kibrom Milash, shown here in October with his daughter Naomi Abraha, is one of the displaced Boise International Market businesspeople who will be featured in the Global Community Market starting Saturday. Kyle Green

When fire ripped through the Boise International Market on Labor Day weekend, it displaced 16 businesses, most run by refugees from Africa and the Middle East.

This weekend, Jannus Economic Development and Trailhead, a Boise startup hub, will launch a temporary market Downtown to showcase some of those entrepreneurs’ wares during the holidays.

Global Community Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays through the holiday season at Trailhead’s building, 500 S. 8th St.

The market will give Treasure Valley shoppers a chance to revisit some of the shopping and eating options they lost when Boise International Market burned, plus give those businesses a way to make money during an expensive time of year, Trailhead CEO Raino Zoller said Monday. Trailhead launched in March, aiming to increase the number of startups in the community and assist entrepreneurs.

“We believe that eight of the 16 original vendors that were in the market will use the temporary space,” Jannus Economic Opportunity Director Beth Geagan told the Statesman, but the list is still being finalized.

Offerings will include a coffee shop and Ethiopian/Eritrean and Middle Eastern restaurants, which will prepare their food at local commercial kitchens — Life’s Kitchen and Create Common Good — and bring it to the market for sale, Geagan said.

No plans have been announced for rebuilding the market at 5823 Franklin Road or reopening it at a new location, and the owners have said the process could take about a year.

Jannus staff will manage the temporary market, which is envisioned as the first step in creating a new social enterprise, Geagan said. The Global Community Market eventually will be expanded to a different, permanent space providing financial capability tools and resources in addition to retail, she said, and donations are being accepted.

Geagan said the market’s opening was timed to fall on Small Business Saturday, a national effort to encourage holiday shoppers to patronize local businesses.

Kibrom Milash, whose Ethiopian/ Eritrean restaurant, Kibrom’s, was destroyed in the fire, will be one of the tenants at the temporary market.

“The support from the Boise community has been amazing,” Milash said in a news release. “We’re glad to be open again, especially during this time of year when many people are buying gifts for friends and family.”

Kristin Rodine: 208-377-6447

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