We’ve published a number of stories lately concerning changes occurring at East End Market. Indie book store Bookmark It announced they were moving out, creating an opportunity for Farm-Haus delivery to expand their business. Kappo closed their sushi restaurant, opened a Japanese Konbini-style convenience store, and will be opening a stand-alone restaurant some time soon and more recently both Txokos and Fatto in Casa have also closed up shop. We thought it would be a good opportunity to talk to East End Market owner, John Rife.

According to Rife, most East End Market vendors signed up for a three year lease back in the Fall of 2013 when the market was just opening, which means most of those leases are up for renewal soon. Rife brought in a consultant in January to work with each of his tenants in anticipation of the lease renewals coming up at the end of the year – with the goal of helping each business to look at their model and evaluate how they were operating their stores. Many of the consultations revealed that some tenants were ready to expand, or close, or to re-brand themselves.

According to Rife, summer is a slower season for East End, a lot of these changes were put into motion now, in order to have a smoother customer experience come Fall, when business starts to pick up again.

Rife told Bungalower that, ” … at least from my perspective, to say that if we have exactly the same tenants five years from now as when we started, I would feel like East End had not fulfilled its mission.  A huge reason for creating East End was to offer small owner-operated businesses an opportunity to test out new concepts, get market validated and then move on as their business concept took off, or close up shop if their passion waned, customers just didn’t dig their offerings, or as life made demands of them.”

As for the near future, the Fatto in Casa space will be host to a series of Summer pop-ups including a Hiyashi Chuka Ramen event and the short-lived home of Cassandra and Georgie of Gezellig Cookies and Flour Life Bakery that will be open from June 15 to mid-July.

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