Bentonville market expands this summer
By MELISSA GUTE
Jun. 17, 2018
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — The 8th Street Market will grow this summer season with the recent opening of The Vine and South Market, increasing the facility's role as an activity hub in the southeast part of downtown Bentonville.
The Vine, an outdoor space near the South Market entrance, will be filled with fresh produce, coffee, flowers, baked goods and other artisan products from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Wednesday from June 6 through Oct. 3 as Downtown Bentonville Inc. will launch a mid-week farmers market in that space.
There's a need for a mid-week market in the city, and it makes sense to have it at 8th Street Market since its emphasis is on food, said Andrew Heath, Downtown Bentonville Inc. executive director.
"8th Street (Market) is becoming the centralize food hub of Northwest Arkansas, and while it is still in development, getting in this year will help us to become a more established market as the area builds around us," he said in an email.
There's about 65 seasonal vendors and 10 to 15 daily vendors at the Saturday farmers market that is held on the downtown square. About 2,000 people patron that market on any given Saturday, according to Heath.
The Wednesday farmers market at The Vine will have 20 vendors, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported .
It will only be a month or two after the Wednesday farmers market opens that the South Market will open with five local food vendors and a gathering space in the south end of the 8th Street Market, each providing a diverse and unique culinary experience.
"The South Market is really sort of our front room to the overall piece of the 8th Street Market, which is all about the celebration of food from a wide variety of point of views," said Daniel Hintz, one of the 8th Street Market developers.
Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food, which is Northwest Arkansas Community College's culinary program, and Bike Rack Brewing are the market's two anchor tenants. They opened January 2017 and May 2017 respectively.
The South Market is a smaller format, multi-tenant experience that allows smaller businesses and startup restaurants a local to try new concepts, Hintz said.
Kalye Manila will offer Filipino cuisine, La Fonda will offer Colombian street food, Mai Papaya will offer the flavors of Southeast Asia, Pure Joy Ice Cream will scoop up unique flavors and Sweet Freedom Cheese will sell artisan cheeses.
Having a space in the South Market will allow Jessica Keahey's, founder of Sweet Freedom Cheese, customers to explore cheese with wine and cured meats as well as learn about making cheese and pick up specialty products needed to do so.
It will have the only cut-to-order cheese shop in the state, she said.
"Our primary function will be to source and introduce people to amazing domestic and international artisan cheeses," she said.
Sweet Freedom Cheese currently partners with businesses, educational institutions and other entities to teach workshops and classes and give lectures about cheese and cheese making around Arkansas.
She said her hope is to meet customers in their cheese comfort zone but also educate them about and encourage them to explore more extravagant cheeses.
"A lot of people really love cheese," Keahey said. "It can be either a really humble staple or a really high-end gourmet food."
Keahey has been able to build partnerships with other small businesses as well as Brightwater, where she's been teaching cheese-making classes.
Collaborations and partnerships are what the 8th Street Market is founded on, Hintz said, explaining that there have been discussions between other tenants as well.
"Great food is a collaboration," he said. "You can't do it by yourself. We really look to 8th Street as being that microcosm of what the food system really entails."
The Holler — a 10,000-square-foot gathering space where guests can eat, drink, work and play — will anchor the South Market.
Ropeswing Hospitality Group announced the concept for the casual gathering place in March. It will feature work areas with high-speed internet, coffee, dining and recreation areas that include three in-ground shuffleboard courts.
"We were eager to develop a concept that moves away from a traditional restaurant or cafe experience and leans into a local hangout that is unique to Bentonville," Rob Apple, founder of Ropeswing, said in a statement. "We hope our guests will use this space to camp out and work, meet friends, start a business or join us for live music."
The Holler is also expected to open this summer.
Once The Vine, the South Market and the Holler are open, 8th Street Market will be "predominantly done," according to Hintz. There may be other small opportunities or changes after seeing how the current tenants work in the space, he said.
The building out of 8th Street Market gives people more of a reason to explore the southeast area of downtown. But the 8th Street Market is only the beginning of southeast downtown's growth.
The Momentary — Crystal Bridges' second art venue — is expected to open early 2020 in the former Kraft Foods building just a few blocks west of the 8th Street Market.
Next to The Momentary Lamplighter Restoration is developing the corner around Austin Baggett Park with housing and commercial space. Just a few blocks southwest of that the Thaden School is being built.
Revitalization of the downtown square was the focus of the city, developers and business owners in 2008.
"Now ten years later, the entirety of that 1,700 acres (that makes the downtown district) is growing with small businesses and big investments," Hintz said. "It's an incredible dynamic space, and the 8th Street Market is smack in the middle of all of it."
The city created the Arts and Market districts in the SE Downtown Area Plan in 2014. The 8th Street Market is in the Market District.
Information from: Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.nwaonline.com