Findlay Market experiences fifth straight year of growth

The Corporation of Findlay Market is reporting that the historic market in Over-the-Rhine saw the number of shopping visits increase in 2010.

The increase in shoppers marks the fifth consecutive year of growth for Findlay Market. More than 800,000 shoppers in 2010 represented a 5.6 percent increase from 2009. The Corporation says that this growth was complimented by four of the five busiest weeks in Findlay Market’s 156-year history.

Findlay Market first started collecting this data in 2006 by installing electronic pedestrian counters near the doors to the market house. Since that time, they state that there has been a 66 percent increase in the number of shoppers.  Recently added tenants have spoke to the central location and types of shoppers present at Findlay Market as being a major draw.

“We looked around town at other possible locations, but the reason Findlay stood out in our minds is because we know the crowds that go there are often for the fresh produce and farmers markets,” Dan Wells, Sushi Bears chef, explained to UrbanCincy last October shortly before they opened.

The growth in the number of shoppers coincides nicely with the recent news that the historic market house is now 100 percent leased after being only 47 percent full when the City of Cincinnati completed a $16 million renovation in 2004. Officials are now working with Findlay Market on how to expand retail space to surrounding buildings.

The first such example is Daisy Mae’s Market, which announced it had purchased a three-story building nearby to expand their storage and preparation areas for deliveries. Additionally, four other tenants have reportedly applied for new leases at Findlay Market with no room to accommodate them.

“We are very encouraged that more and more people are moving back into Downtown and Over-the-Rhine,” Findlay Market marketing director Cheryl Eagleson stated. “They want all the usual services within the urban core…and one of those is the availability of quality foods.”

Findlay Market (map) is open year-round from 9am to 6pm Tuesday through Friday, 8am to 6pm on Saturday, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday. Some tenants, including Pho Lang Thang, have experimented with later hours into the evening but have yet to set formal operation hours to those later times.

Findlay Market photography provided by UrbanCincy contributor 5chw4r7z.

  • But how were sales?
    Keller’s in Clifton was, apparently, getting squeezed pretty bad by the recession.

  • Given the unique organization of Findlay Market, I do not believe they are able to track sales across the board. For that information you have to go to the invidual tenants. From those that I have spoken to, their sales have remained steady with some even reporting a growth in sales.

  • I figured management would require some kind of reporting.

  • And that’s only tracking people going into the main market house! There’s been many times we’re gone and never walked in, we’ve hit the outside market then market Wines and/or Pho Lang Thang and left. When the streetcar rolls through those vendors won’t know what hit them. I wonder how long after the streetcar until there’s a Starbucks at Findlay.

  • Zack

    Well, if leasing is up, and current vendors are expanding space, id venture to say sales might be up as well.

    The coffee shop inside (name escapes me) needs more space and a better location, so one can purchase coffee, and sip as they shop. Or evil cousin SB will swoop in.

    Are there rules about whos allowed to lease space (i.e. no chains?)

  • Neil

    Hopefully it will get to the point where they can have longer hours. I’ve read a ton of complaints from people about how inconvenient the market is for practical grocery shopping.

  • Zack:

    I believe that the Corporation of Findlay Market has the final say on who the vendors are at Findlay Market. I’m not exactly sure, but I believe that is how it works.

    Neil:

    I think your, and other people’s, desire to have longer hours at Findlay Market is something that is inevitable and will come in a matter of time. Stay patient, support the tenants, and make comments about later hours being needed.

  • J

    I would like to see that surface parking lot changed into an underground parking garage ala Washington Park, and see the commercial/mixed use space expanded where the parking lot is. Sort of create a “Findlay Square,” and build in the old style so it doesn’t look out of place. Just a dream.

  • Longer hours = less personalized service, be careful what you wish for.
    @J – LOL, that area was built up old style not that long ago. One nice thing about it being open is that you can see the neighborhood at a distance – not the perspective one usually sees.

  • I heard Pho Lang Thang as an experiment stayed open until 8 the other night. Of course it snowed and was freezing.
    I haven’t heard how it went.

  • Zack

    Well, if longer hours led to more $$$ i think it will happen. And the owners and personalized service would focus on the hot times.

    J: Lucky you. There will be said underground lot in a few years only 3 blocks away. At this rate, they are going to have to close the lot for more vendor space anyway!

    Im making it a point to get 3 people from my office to FM this year. Theyve lived here for years and have never been. Sad to hear.

  • L. Q.

    An underground garage would cost about $60,000 a space. Assuming that it lasts 40 years, you would have to have parking rates of over $120+ per month to just break even, and that assumes no carrying costs on your capital.

  • T

    I wouldn’t know: I refuse to spend much time there as parking is always such a headache. Not everyone is walking distance or on an “appropriate” bus route. I refuse transfer buses after 40 minutes just to pick up some groceries. It’s not practical to do grocery shopping there (even though it’s the cheapest place in the city) if by the time you get there the hours are over.

  • Pol

    “I refuse to spend much time there as parking is always such a headache.”

    Really? I’ve never had a problem with it. There are always plenty of spots open, and worse case scenario, you have to park on the street.

    We live in the burbs and make the drive in to the city for the one of a kind shopping experience and then a lunch downtown. Even if you do have trouble parking, it is worth it.

  • Brian

    My wife and I have been going to Findlay since the mid 90’s, long before the colorful renovations, so it’s great to hear about the success.

    My question is this: When will Findlay Market develop the upper stories of the buildings they own into some kind of usable space? Why don’t they turn it into a business incubator and rent the space to small startups that just need a place to call their ‘office’? Anything to just cover the marginal cost would be better than it sitting empty.

  • Brian:

    I believe some of those upper-floor spaces are apartments, but for the large majority there is not much going on. It would seem to be a valuable proposition (both economically and socially) to turn those unused spaces into additional apartments. You would basically be building in customers for the market, plus you would be getting a monthly stream of revenue.

  • Josh

    Just because traffic is up doesn’t mean profit is up. Some long time vendors have said its been a horrible year. Holiday season took a dip. The market is only busy on Saturday. So for those of you that only go during this time feel the market is doing well. If you go during the week the cases are half empty and vendors close early because it is so slow. Most established farmers markets are busy year round. There are vendors that are doing well at the market and thats because they branch out past the market. I know of no vendor that reports finacial figures to the corporation. All in all there is no need to candy coat the story support Findlay Market “Year Round” “7 Days a Week”

  • Josh:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Unfortunately I do not have specific numbers to compare weekdays to weekends, or warmer months to colder months. I do know, based on my experience, that vendors are much slower during the colder months and during the week, but it also appears that some are experiencing annual increases in revenues.

    I think that in order to improve weekday and year-round sales, more people are going to have to be living in the immediate area. Currently, this part of OTR is one of the most vacant. If people were filling these buildings, they would be built-in customers for the market and its merchants. The streetcar should also help considerably as it will extend the service area and reach of Findlay Market beyond the immediate vicinity to include Downtown and Uptown as well.

  • Josh

    Randy:

    I agree with you also. The problem with trying to fill in these areas are the crime which I believe is on the decline. And the cost of leasing or buying downtown is crazy right now. Landlords are looking for immediate return on investment instead of looking at the long term. This holds off a lot of people living downtown. They live in Covington and Newport or in cheaper suburbs. I think the city needs to find a way to centralize our city instead of thinning it out. If we had 10000 more people living downtown then our market could thrive year round