Economic Development Bank President Ivonne Otero said Tuesday that local farmers participating in the agency’s urban market events over the past 24 months have generated some $1.2 million in direct sales, plus another similar amount in deals to export their goods, as well as sell them at retail establishments on the island.
“The Urban Market initiative, which we launched in Condado and expanded to events in Guaynabo, Ponce, Canóvanas and Mayagüez, has generated a significant economic impact for farmers, including agreements with retailers including SuperMax, Amigo, Walmart and La Hacienda, who are buying directly from farmers,” she said.
But the biggest impact, she said is the opportunity the farmers have had to begin exporting their goods, specifically to the Hispanically heavy eastern part of the U.S.
“So far, arrangements have been made to export artisanal cheese from Queso Vaca Negra in Morovis, honey from Apiario Caraballo and Pique Mi Madre hot sauce,” she said. “At the agency we had envisioned this having a significant impact, but this has gone beyond our expectations.”
Otero’s comments followed a morning news conference to announce the upcoming Urban Bazaar event, to take place at Condado’s Ventana Al Mar, on Dec. 3. The event is being described as a “fusion between fun and retail, between cultural and familiar.”
“This is an initiative that is totally different from the bazars we’re used to seeing during Christmas. We took it upon ourselves to create an environment that will be attractive to all types of publics, and above everything else, that it spurs sales for our entrepreneurs,” she said.
The Urban Bazaar event will start at 9 a.m., when about 50 small retailers invited by the EDB will set up their goods and services — from eco-friendly products to massages and tarot card readings — for sale.
“We wanted to create an eclectic atmosphere where people can buy and and have fun. For this reason, Urban Bazaar will feature mimes, jugglers, Conservatory of Music students playing their instruments, cartoonists, yoga classes and bike rentals, among other things,” she said. “We tried to maintain a balanced mix, and not repeat the same types of items, so that our participants have guaranteed sales.”
The Urban Bazaar will take place ahead of the traditional Urban Market, slated for Dec. 4 and which feature a holiday theme that weekend, when farmers will sell everything from poinsettias to Christmas trees and typical treats of the season. That event will also start at 9 a.m.