Arising from the “protest and occupy” movement, the DTES Market provides a safe and legal vending space for individuals in the survival economy. Working with the support of the City of Vancouver, Central City Foundation, the Vancouver Police Department, and the Portland Hotel Society, the DTES Street Market Society provides over 1000 vendors with income generating opportunities seven days per week across three sites in the DTES.
The City of Vancouver and low-income community have been very vocal about the essential role of street vending in allowing some citizens to earn a livelihood or supplement their income assistance. The DTES Market Society employs community members to rent tents and tables on market days and sell snack items at a coffee kiosk. The Market also provides low cost and used goods to many more members of the community. As such, it is imperative to expand and validate market-selling and make it easier for local artists and other entrepreneurs to showcase and sell their work.
The Society is integral to building a safe, coordinated, and approachable space for vendors to sell legitimate goods. Collaboration with groups like law enforcement and local area business associations help provide a well-managed space that fosters the breakdown of social stigmas, allowing for a diversity of community that is the foundation for street markets worldwide.
LEDlab Project Coordinator Daniel Mundeva supported the DTES Market’s expansion to seven days per week, increasing the number of paid volunteer positions in the organization while helping refine their business and operations model. Outcomes from this work included the expansion of market operations from 1 to 7 days per week, increased the number of paid positions by 500%, creation of new operational documents, and an analysis of the market’s income generating operations with recommendations for additional enterprising activities.