Last week was an important one for business incubator La Cocina: they celebrated a “bread breaking” at their future LA COCINA MUNICIPAL MARKETPLACE in the Tenderloin, with Mayor London Breed, Supervisor Jane Kim, La Cocina executive director Caleb ZIgas, and members of the community (La Voz Latina, Central City SRO Collaborative) speaking about the importance of supporting this project, not only for La Cocina, but for the neighborhood, the city, and beyond.
This all-women-led, 7,000-square-foot marketplace is taking over the former post office at 101 Hyde Street at Golden Gate, a particularly challenging corner in the city, especially since the post office closed. The city-owned location is eventually going to be developed and converted into affordable housing, but that’s going to take some time—so for at least the next seven years, La Cocina has a lease with extremely low rent, an absolute rarity in this city that is so challenging for small businesses, let alone ones owned by women, immigrants, and people of color.
It’s going to be the first women-led food hall in the country, with seven La Cocina graduates (primarily immigrants and women of color) who will have their own kiosks. There will also be a pop-up kiosk, a dining area, a marketplace bar, a community kitchen (offering below-market-rate kitchen space to entrepreneurs and community groups for food production), classes, and more. They want to feed the neighborhood, offering quality and affordable and delicious food, while also creating 30 jobs for low-income individuals.
Not only will the marketplace provide an equitable opportunity for La Cocina entrepreneurs to gain experience in building their businesses, but the food hall format will also allow them to diminish the burden of high commercial rent, as well as share labor, maintenance, and other operating costs. It’s also going to do a lot to activate that corner, and help support the neighborhood. This is such an innovative and inspiring project—which has been three years in the making—offering a replicable model for economic development for cities across the nation. It’s a win-win-win-win-win (there are a lot of wins).
La Cocina is still fundraising for the project: they have raised 65% of their $5MM goal, but still need some financial support to bring it home. If you would like to make a donation in support of the La Cocina Municipal Marketplace, or know someone who would support the project, please send Development and Communications Manager Jessica Mataka an email or call at 415-824-2729, ext. 307.
Construction is now underway, and they are targeting a spring opening. Congratulations and much respect to Caleb and the entire La Cocina team on this big next step. 101 Hyde St. at Golden Gate.
Tacos are coming to the former post office: get ready for the La Cocina Municipal Marketplace. Photo: © tablehopper.com.