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Archive for Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Around the corner

East Lawrence store strives to become ‘community space’

Volunteer Lindsey Martin prepares a menu sign at Eastside People's Market, 409 E. 12th St. The new market/cafe's owners hope to offer east Lawrence residents a convenient place to pick up groceries as well as a neighborhood gathering site.

Volunteer Lindsey Martin prepares a menu sign at Eastside People's Market, 409 E. 12th St. The new market/cafe's owners hope to offer east Lawrence residents a convenient place to pick up groceries as well as a neighborhood gathering site.

May 28, 2008

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Dave Strano, a worker and owner of Eastside People's Market, displays a sign to welcome customers. The grocery section of the market will open Monday.

Dave Strano, a worker and owner of Eastside People's Market, displays a sign to welcome customers. The grocery section of the market will open Monday.

Moving across the country from New York City to Lawrence, Jordan Ferrand-Sapsis expected a bit of culture shock.

But she found it in the most common and unexpected places: the street corner.

Cooking for her housemates soon after her arrival in Lawrence, she had planned to make empanadas - only she forgot to pick up empanada wrappers.

No problem. She thought, "I'll just go to the corner store."

That's when she realized she wasn't in New York anymore.

"I was like, 'Oh! We don't have corner stores here, do we?'" she says.

Fast-forward a few years, and Ferrand-Sapsis and five of her colleagues have changed that, creating the Eastside People's Market, 409 E. 12th St., a collective-run cafe and market. The store opened for limited cafe hours May 1 (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and will open the market side and have extended hours (7 a.m. to 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., Ferrand-Sapsis says) starting Monday. Once the market side is set up, Ferrand-Sapsis hopes it can be a combination corner store, cafe and hangout for east Lawrence.

"The space is really hopefully going to be not just a store, not just a cafe, but a community space," says Ferrand-Sapsis, who notes the weekly Friday "bike-in" movies the market has been hosting from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. "A place for the neighborhood to come together and talk about whatever they want and to meet each other."

Corner store, not megastore

The six members of the collective that runs the Eastside People's Market don't want or expect it to be the place where customers do the lion's share of their grocery shopping for the week. They don't expect it to rival Dillons or Hy-Vee. What they want it to be is the place where people from east Lawrence can pick up a gallon of milk at 7 p.m. without hiking all over town.

"I don't think we'll be a one-stop shop. I don't think we'd ever be big enough to do that, just based on how big we are," Ferrand-Sapsis says. "I think what's been our thinking in a lot of ways (is) we've been trying to figure out what was the last thing I had to run to Dillons for."

But the six collective members - Ferrand-Sapsis, Dave Miller, Danielle Loftus, Chris Lumpa, Ann Iverson, Dave Strano - also don't want it to be your average quick mart, brimming with highly processed junk. They want to give the neighborhood healthy, high-quality food at as-low-as-they-can-get-them prices.

"It's a walking neighborhood, it's a poor neighborhood, it's a working-class neighborhood. Gas is $4 a gallon - food is getting more expensive as it is," Ferrand-Sapsis says.

One way they are planning to keep prices low is by carrying specialty items in addition to the basics.

"We've got a pretty good strategy of trying to keep really staple items down while making luxury items a little more expensive, and people understanding that when they're spending a dollar extra on that organic shampoo, it's going to make sure that other people have rice and beans," Ferrand-Sapsis says.

No matter if it's a basic necessity or a luxury item, the idea is for the product to be as local and noncorporate as possible. Strano says the market's goal is to be hyper-local. They have been in talks with local farmers to get produce for the store and have been out to farms to observe the working conditions and see how sustainable the operation is. And products that aren't made locally will be purchased with care to make sure they are not buying from anywhere overly corporate.

"It is taking a little bit of extra legwork. It's not like we just called Sysco and we're going to make an order through Sysco, you know," Strano says of the food distribution company. "We want to be able to provide people with products that can be grown here locally that are in season and that are healthy."

Veggie-friendly

Another aim is to only carry vegetarian options - no meat at all - and to make an effort to carry hard-to-find specialty vegan items. All six of the collective members are vegetarian, and three are vegan.

"Our goal is to provide healthy food that has as little impact on the environment as possible, so that kind of ruled out meat automatically," Strano says.

One final philosophy the group has for its store: No one is anybody's boss. They would rather work together than work for any one person.

"We call ourselves a collective. The ownership aspects of it are fairly unimportant to us," Ferrand-Sapsis says. "We stress a collective structure and a consensus decision-making model. ... We're trying to create a situation where we're all our own bosses to some degree."

The collective members know that some of these ideas may seem unusual for a store that's looking to serve the area, but they say it is extremely important to them to put keep their philosophies and beliefs in line with their store.

"We're trying to prove to folks also that we don't need to have these structures in place, that businesses and communities can run themselves using autonomous models of organizing," Ferrand-Sapsis says.

Message or not, the members say that every day they have someone coming in excited that east Lawrence has a grocery again.

"People are really excited. The amount of amazing responses that we've gotten has been slightly overwhelming," Ferrand-Sapsis says. "People are really excited to be able to walk to a grocery store in their neighborhood."

Comments

secretresistance 6 years, 6 months ago

I've been waiting for the grand opening for months! Congratulations on doing something wonderful with that space, EPM!

TheEleventhStephanie 6 years, 6 months ago

Checkers sells empanada wrappers, frozen, across from the ice cream.

Oracle_of_Rhode 6 years, 6 months ago

Great news! I'm glad to have a local rival to Dillon's on Mass & 19th, which carries few organics (no organic yogurt! no organic cream cheese!) and forces customers to do their own check out with those evil little scanner machines. I like the spirit behind the EPM and will be picking up some groceries soon, and a coffee too.

Write2Know 6 years, 6 months ago

I'm disappointed they won't be selling meat.

RedwoodCoast 6 years, 6 months ago

Consumer1: All is understandable. Humans naturally form mental categories, even though they might not always be 100% accurate. We all do it.

6 years, 6 months ago

I moved out by 23rd and Naismith recently but plan to bike over the Eastside Peoples' Market whenever I can. Way to go folks! BTW, is there website or email listing out there to get info on the friday night movies, specials, news, etc?

hubcap 6 years, 6 months ago

Free parking 24-7 on top level of downtown parking garage,

sustainabilitysister 6 years, 6 months ago

Can't wait to support it! 2 blocks from my house! YIPPEEEEEE

Haiku_Cuckoo 6 years, 6 months ago

Good for them. I hope it works out. Remember when they covered themselves in tomato paste and protested outside the armed forces recruiting office? Now they'll have access to all the tomato paste they want...probably organic, too.http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/jun...

Flap Doodle 6 years, 6 months ago

The cybersquatting website cool is plugging is part of a certain odious local 'forum' where you can see stellar examples of juvenile personal attacks. If that's what you're all about, I'd recommend going through proxify dot com if you want to check it out.

fu7il3 6 years, 6 months ago

Parking is the problem anywhere downtown. It's such a problem most of the time that I avoid it all together.

geniusmannumber1 6 years, 6 months ago

"Way to be on it, LJW! The Lawrencian ran this story in April."Yes. But nobody reads the Lawrencian.

TheEleventhStephanie 6 years, 6 months ago

I'm also disappointed they won't be selling meat. I'll still shop there, since I live nearby. For the record, I am also disappinted they won't be selling liquor.

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 6 months ago

mommaeffortx2was there anything in there between the laundromat and Odessa's?it was a laundromat for at least 40 years... I think...Snedengers (sp?)... most of that time...

scary_manilow 6 years, 6 months ago

The Cheese Shoppe sells meat, and it's a pretty short walk from East Lawrence. Are you only capable of spending money at one place?

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 6 months ago

fu7il3just another common misuse of the term "hippie"it happens around here...a lot...

fu7il3 6 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

verity 6 years, 6 months ago

Parking? I think the point is that you can walk to the store and not have to drive.

cygnet 6 years, 6 months ago

Love to see this happening. When I was growing up in East Lawrence (40's-50's) there were 3 to 4 neighborhood markets with in a 4 block radius walking /bicycle distance.

J Good Good 6 years, 6 months ago

You can disagree with their politics, but these folks really think about their values and try very hard to live by them.

geniusmannumber1 6 years, 6 months ago

Wow...I've never heard the term "hippie" not used as a perjorative before.

geniusmannumber1 6 years, 6 months ago

Can you imagine the outcry if Wal-Mart convinced people to "volunteer" their labor?

bearded_gnome 6 years, 6 months ago

as I wrote, i give them credit for putting their money (and effort) where their mouth is. I just think this model won't succeed, subsidizing food by raising the cost of nonfood products. ***cool, you gonna give that vanagon a tie-dyed appearance?

Christine Pennewell Davis 6 years, 6 months ago

I wish them luck but that corner has seen a few bussinesses come and go. But with that being said, nothing like this, so Go forth and prosper.

fu7il3 6 years, 6 months ago

Of course, running the story three months ago doesn't do much since this story was about the market opening on Monday. A little more timely than "Hey, in three months this will be open. Be sure to remember that."

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 6 years, 6 months ago

This story is what capitalism is all about: A grassroots effort to find something that people want, sell it and make a profit. A big thumbs up to these young go-getters. I hope you do lots of business and create an establishment that other young entrepreneurs can learn from.

RedwoodCoast 6 years, 6 months ago

Consumer1: I haven't run into Dave for a while, but I never expected to see him wearing an apron. To be honest, I was wondering what he was doing these days. I guess it is the People's market. At least he is passionate about what he believes and has actually become involved in endeavors related to his beliefs. I'm still kind of surprised, though. I wonder if that Sysco comment was a jab at any other local establishment of the same market niche.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 6 months ago

Nick, makingincorrectassumptionsagain?Just to be safe, don't click any links that Marion posts. You never know which ones might lead to his stinking pit of a 'forum'.BTW,stillhavingawonderfulinternetlife.

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 6 months ago

consumer1if you had put the term Hippie in quotation marks in your original post the usage might have been proper...but... as you have now stated... this guy wasn't a real Hippie... he was a fake Hippie...and there were a lot of them around in the late 60s and early 70s...and I knew a few who transformed large drug profits into legitimate businesses...but... none of them were ever Hippies...some people thought they were Hippies...but they weren't...

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 6 months ago

consumer1and you're right about Wakfest...lots of fake Hippies...fake Hippies who have most likely even faked themselves out...

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 6 months ago

"Hippie" does seem to have a lot of unwarranted negative connotations...kind of like "Christian" and "Capitalist"...

Avery Pearson 6 years, 6 months ago

yes but to be fair, its kind of a townie thing to read the Lawrencian. it just shows more of us are becoming townies. maybe that means the eastside market will prosper.

idarastar 6 years, 6 months ago

Awesome! I shall visit sometime. It's within biking distance. Actually, everything I need is within biking distance. I LOVE living in Old West Lawrence!The best of luck... :)

blakus 6 years, 6 months ago

there are no hippies any more. the 'hippie' died in san francisco a loooooong time ago... the hippies then declared that there shall not be another hippie ever. why? b/c of posers and hard drugs.

1029 6 years, 6 months ago

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RedwoodCoast 6 years, 6 months ago

Consumer1: I would be weary of throwing around that term hippie. I would imagine that many have a different notion of what constitutes a hippie. In some parts of the world, just having a liberal slant will get you labled a hippie.Also, I would be weary of prejudging folks with dreadlocks. I've known many of those trust-fund brats. Some of them are what you call Trustafarians. Trustafarians aren't always wealthy and they aren't always brats, but for the most part, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more pretentiously enlightened group of kids.I have had dreadlocks for going on 7 years now. This might come as a surprise, but maybe not. I get annoyed at folks who assume I'm one of those rasta types. Rastafarians did not invent nor do they own dreadlocks. Neither do trust fund brats, and neither do punks nor metal guitar players. I have dreadlocks because anyone who goes beyond my appearance will realize that their stereotypes are moot.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 6 months ago

some of these comments may have been made already."put keep" "slightly overwhelming"quick mart, brimming with highly processed junk. They want to give the neighborhood healthy, high-quality food at as-low-as-they-can-get-them prices."It's a walking neighborhood, it's a poor neighborhood, it's a working-class neighborhood. Gas is $4 a gallon - food is getting more expensive as it is,"Ferrand-Sapsis says.--are we writing and speaking english?
dave strano, head of the little scruffies who protest everything! soon, he'll be out protesting his own little commune/collective. this is indeed a wonderful neighborhood, friendly, full of great people. the group is anti-meat so if you want meat you don't deserve a neighborhood store. and, they admit they're pricing things up "so somebody can get rice and beans?" uh, businesses have to make a profit, that's how they function. this socialist model can't succede. I applaud them for putting their effort and perhaps their money where their mouths are. wonder how the neighbors of the store feel about the "bike-in movies" part. now, if their store gets held up, they going to call the police. the police have guns. strano and his little scruffies protest all war. so, if they get held up, it would be hypocritical for them to call the police.

fu7il3 6 years, 6 months ago

"Remember when they covered themselves in tomato paste and protested outside the armed forces recruiting office?"I'd like to know if that tomato paste came from local farmers who were paid a fair price.

Bubarubu 6 years, 6 months ago

This is one of the more popular threads on LJW right now, so I just wanted to ask why we hadn't seen anything about this story: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/23/tjx_fires_whistleblower/Short version: TJ Maxx has had problems with problems with data security. After 18 months of improving their procedures, our local store reset the server password to blank. The employee who publicly criticized this stunning failure is a 23 year old KU freshman who is now unemployed because he "disclosed "confidential company information." How many of us have shopped at that store? Why is the story in a British newspaper but absent from the local paper?

Sigmund 6 years, 6 months ago

cool (Anonymous) says: "great ! i can stop there on my way to the Casbah and Checkers."Since it isn't on your way to Checkers nor the Casbah from your home/office you will be burning more fossil fuels. Be sure to take the empTy. Bubarubu (Anonymous) says:"This is one of the more popular threads on LJW right now, so I just wanted to ask why we hadn't seen anything about this story."Because no one in Lawrence except you and me reads El Reg and even if they did they wouldn't understand the real danger the lack of transactional and account security poses to the world's economy.haybail (Anonymous) says: "Another reminder, The Lawrencian ran this story almost 3 months ago!"Another reminder. Nobody cares or reads the Lawrencian.haybail (Anonymous) says: "And if no body reads The Lawrencian, how has their circulation grown 275% in 18 months?"Because percentage increases are meaningless when the base is so small.

BigPrune 6 years, 6 months ago

Do these folks accept REAL dollars and do they recognize Dadaism? If someone were to protest about anarchists by handcuffing themselves to the front door, would they call the cops?

bearded_gnome 6 years, 6 months ago

Cool,you are just amazing. how can you shop at checkers and support the eeeeeeeeeeeevil corporate interests? and, you'll personally transport the influx of touristas from the oreadinn (pimping the site) to the local peoples' market/"restaurant." you gonna lead natural history tours for the touristas too "and over there, is honk-for-hemp man" and "there is a doper." and"oh look, an agressive panhandling bum from the drunken/druggy shelter." "meanwhile, as we make our way through the plains of lawrence, observe the mating rituals of the college fratboyicuses." heck, you could produce a colorful tourist book with big fold-out pictures of the local flora and fauna!

Haiku_Cuckoo 6 years, 6 months ago

jg, I agree with you. I know that I made a comment regarding organic tomato paste, but I do sincerely hope that this venture proves to be profitable for them. I'm a big fan of local business and I will certainly be visiting this place for a cup of coffee and maybe some goods. Hats off to them and best of success!

6 years, 6 months ago

You can just feel the love on this thread, can't you?

KUGreenMachine 6 years, 6 months ago

just a piece of advice to them: don't accept checks, otherwise you'll be out of a lot of money...

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