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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Kendall Yards to kick off new farmers market

Though he’s been in business for three years, Central Food owner David Blaine still gets customers who think his bistro opened a few weeks ago.

It’s a common experience for business owners who have made a home in newly developed Kendall Yards.

“There’s an endless supply of people who this is all new to them,” Blaine said.

Now, the neighborhood is opening its doors to the rest of Spokane with an evening farmers market scheduled to kick off May 13.

It’s the brainchild of developer Jim Frank, the CEO of Greenstone Corp., which has been building residential and commercial properties at Kendall Yards since 2010.

Frank said his goal is to create a sense of community by drawing people into the area to relax after work.

“We’re going to have a stronger emphasis on prepared food, street food and on entertainment so that it can just be a place where people can come and enjoy the evening,” he said.

Live music will play at the plaza south of Cedar Street and Summit Parkway, while the market will be held on the street itself.

Blaine said he’s seen increased foot traffic during summer concerts held in the plaza during the past two years. He usually puts out patio seating during special events, and hopes the market will bring more new customers by his door.

“We’re going to lure them in,” he said.

Frank has always envisioned Kendall Yards with a market and began laying concrete plans about nine months ago, once he thought enough infrastructure was in place to support it.

Nearly 40 vendors are signed up, including Project Hope’s Riverfront Farm, which grows produce on vacant lots in West Central. Among Kendall Yards businesses, The Wandering Table, a modern American restaurant, will have a gelato case.

It’s not the first time Frank has created a farmers market from scratch. He put together the Liberty Lake market in 2000 as part of a development project in the area. It got off the ground with support from Greenstone but now is managed by an independent board of vendors and customers.

“We see the same thing with this market. We’re going to help get it started; we’re going to support it financially,” he said.

Other Spokane neighborhoods have markets, including Emerson-Garfield, South Perry and West Central. Frank said he’s mindful of the need to be competitive but sees the strength of other local markets as a sign of high demand.

“When you create a community that has a strong sense of community, then people want to live there. We do think that it helps create value in the neighborhood, having a market,” he said.

Seth Carey owns Veraci Pizza, which sits on Summit Parkway in the heart of Kendall Yards. He’s had the storefront for about nine months, but his business got its start cooking in a mobile pizza oven at other farmers markets around the city.

“It’s cool how the market’s going to be in front of our store now,” he said. “We’re really excited.”

Like Blaine, he hopes to attract foot traffic and sell pizza slices to people who come to enjoy the market.

“It’s a great thing. It brings people; it brings the community; it becomes a weekly ritual for people,” he said.

Frank said he’s heard positive feedback from residents about the market, and hundreds of people shared a Facebook post announcing its opening in May.

“It really gave us a lot of confidence that the community really wants to have a market like this,” Frank said.

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