NewBo City Market bringing back summer events, trying to increase business for vendors

Updated: Jun. 16, 2020 at 4:55 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Four vendors inside NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids have closed permanently since the novel coronavirus pandemic hit, but management is making changes to help keep the nonprofit business incubator thriving.

You may notice large white boxes outlining sections of the lawn at NewBo City Market. That’s because they are planning a socially distant return of two popular summer events. Alexandra Olsen, the facility’s marketing director, said that is in hopes of increasing foot traffic that vendors rely on.

Rock the Block, a summer concert series and Meet Me at the Market, a health event, will return for the summer. Olsen said the past two months have been difficult for the market itself and especially hard for their small business vendors. She said market management met with each of their vendors to learn what would help them maintain their businesses.

Along with temporary rent relief, Olsen says vendors needed ways to attract customers.

“We’ve kind of just talked to each vendor about how we can help them get through this. So, we have established a rent relief program for the two months that we were kind of on and off here and there. So just realizing we know their revenue is low, ours is too, but we want to help each other get through this," Olsen said.

Olsen said she’s hoping by spacing out designated areas on the lawn for people to come in their own groups, it will help make people feel safe to return to the market.

“Really trying to innovate on those events and make it safe for everybody to be here, encourage everyone to still come out, still support small business," Olsen said. “We’re asking people to leave their coolers at home, to leave their beer from outside of the market at home, and really just come and enjoy the market to its fullest.”

Olsen said they've also seen an increase in private and corporate donations to the market recently.

Tickets and pre-registration will be required for Rock the Block. Olsen said those details will be available soon.

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