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Patrons of the West End Market this year will find, in addition to fresh produce, an array of breads and pastries, handmade table runners and scarves, reusable shopping bags and women’s beauty products. The market offers these home-based business-owners a chance to exhibit their wares to the public. In addition, says Diane Lupke of ECDC, which sponsors the market, “All vendors are eligible for Evanston Community Development Corporation (ECDC) programs.”
Now in its second year, the West End Market is open Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot on the southeast corner ofChurch Street
. Some vendors have returned from last year, says market director Precious Wright, and there are a few new faces.
Hugo Alvarez brings produce from farms downstate, where he works regularly. The drive is about four hours each way, he says. On a recent Saturday, snap peas, tomatoes, and blueberries were among other fresh-picked items on his tables.
Dennis Dominguez of High-Rise Bakery in Chicago brings breads and pastries to the West End Market nearly every Saturday.
Second Chance, a collaboration between ECDC and several local churches, is the first step for some ex-convicts to enter the business world as they re-enter society. Second Chance participants resell produce from the downtown market and plan to use the proceeds to purchase equipment to start a lawn-care business, says Ms. Wright, adding, “The West End Market is the testing ground for Second Chance. The ex-convicts can learn a business and help provide for their families. We’re very excited about it.”
Mind, Body, Soul & Me offers beauty products, tips and books for women of all ages. The products are developed by Evanston-based Yawa Company.