Sacramento Public Market

The concept is getting more traction, as this article in the Sacramento Bee reports, and that is good news.

It is a concept we recently wrote two articles about, one last year and one a week or so ago, and it would be wonderful if it somehow could be located close to one of our rivers—we obviously favor the American—and have sufficient parking.

An excerpt from the Bee article.

Nearly 40 years after Sacramento’s last urban public market closed due to changing times and a dwindling interest, developers have revived interest and then some in a new kind of market that links to the city’s past while tapping into the ever-evolving food-centric momentum in the region.

What such a market will be, exactly, remains to be seen. But just last week, those pushing for it saw plenty of hope when 25,000 people descended upon Capitol Mall for the Farm-To-Fork Festival. Those folks, mingling at dozens of booths related to food, drink and farming, can be considered the prime demographic eager to support the proposed public market downtown, according to Randall Selland, a longtime chef and restaurant owner.

The turnout, which delighted and perhaps surprised insiders and observers alike, also signaled the support for the city’s new campaign as the “Farm-To-Fork Capital” had extended well beyond foodies, farmers and restaurateurs. Coupled with plans to build a downtown arena, the public market dream is riding a wave of momentum.

While short on specifics for now – and with a new Facebook page collecting “likes” and soliciting input – Sacramento’s version of a public market would likely feature a variety of vendors in a single, open-concept building: eateries, specialty food shops such as cheese and charcuterie, a coffee shop, bakery, a wine merchant and farm-fresh produce, to name but a few.

The idea is to build a concept around food, attract a variety of people to one locale and get them to spend money on a variety of items and options, all the while affording them a chance to run into friends and neighbors doing something similar.

“We welcome that with open arms. That would be the coolest thing,” said Selland, whose Selland Restaurant Groups owns Ella Dining Room & Bar, The Kitchen Restaurant and Selland’s Market-Cafe.

“But you have to get the balance right. You’ve got to get the locals there, and you’ve got to get the tourists. You also have to get the right price point, which is pretty low for state workers. You also have to have the staying power to change and evolve.”

When it comes to public markets, Sacramento already has a proven track record, though one practically lost to history. The best-known public market in town operated from 1923 to 1974 at 13th and J streets, site of the current Sheraton Grand, which restored the much-admired market building designed by Julia Morgan.

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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