Two more Italian Market stands on the way as new manager fixes 1907 rules

A new taco stand and a roasted-nut seller are set to be the latest additions in the Italian Market’s recent strategy to attract vendors to fill up the vacancies along 9th Street. The Ginger Snap’s organic grocer recently opened toward the north end of the market.

Italian Market ginger snap

Michele Gambino, the business manager for the South 9th Street Business Association, said the progress in attracting new vendors has been slowed by antiquated regulations that she, the city and Councilman Mark Squilla’s office have been working to change.

“We need to get legislation to change anything,” Gambino said of the codes governing open-air markets. “We’re operating under regulations from 1907 that have never been updated.”

Two issues are at play: each business’ “entrance point” and the amount of street space the vendors can use. Regarding the entrance points, the rules as written say that vendors can’t set up sidewalk retail space in front of their door, but some vendors have a completely open facade with a roll-up garage door. And on the street, Gambino said the market is looking to draw a line seven feet from the curb to denote what is a travel lane and what is vendor space.

“The code specifies nothing,” she said. “Think about in 1907, there was no bus, there were no trucks. There were carts and horses. Maybe a few years later there started to be some cars, and at one point there was a trolley that went down the street.”

A line was on the street until the 1950s but it was never repainted after it faded. Gambino noted that L&I has not ticketed vendors for these so-called violations and that the agency has been very helpful with working to change the rules.

“Now that we’re in a revitalization project, with that comes change,” she said. “Now everything’s being scrutinized, and we’re seeing some of the codes need to be updated.”

Ginger Snap

Aside from tweaking the codes, Gambino said the market is trying to attract craft sellers and other food stands to diversify the options. The $300 a month rental fee per stand goes toward the market’s revitalization efforts. For instance, the business association paid for the new awning at Ginger Snap’s.

Italian Market awning ginger snap

In the meantime, Gambino said the taco stand and roasted-nuts seller is still on track despite the impending code changes. Gambino noted that anyone selling food will need to pass a health inspection and that just because you’re looking to open a “curbside stand,” it doesn’t mean you can skirt the requirements of being a legitimate business, like filing for a business license with the city.

If you want to apply for a stand, you can download Word documents of the application by clicking here and information on the particulars here.

5 thoughts on “Two more Italian Market stands on the way as new manager fixes 1907 rules

  • July 10, 2014 at 3:15 pm


  • July 11, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Love the new additions, especially Ginger Snap’s. Keep them coming!

  • July 11, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    This is great news! Has the idea of making this area a pedestrian only zone on weekends ever been considered?

  • July 12, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    The Italian Market will never reach full potential unless thru car traffic is removed.

    • July 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      I tend to agree……with some qualification.

      I think it should be focused on weekends when foot traffic through the market is highest. This would allow the vendors to sell on the street side of their markets and keep the sidewalks open.

      I think that 9th street should be closed only during the major market hours. This could be accomplished with removable bollards on the street at Washington and Christian. I think the southern half should be left open for now.

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