Over the course of the fall this year, the micro-retail file has really picked up steam here at ThinkFresh. As discussed in earlier posts, we’ve been busy working on the Honest Ed’s Alley project. Our work with the Alley has provided us with the opportunity to conduct one of the first surveys of micro-vendors in Toronto and the analysis of the results has helped us to better understand the trends in this growing sector. Our Honest Ed’s Alley design charrette at the end of November has further given us additional insight to digest around what makes micro-retail markets work and how to incubate micro-enterprises. We’ve also been reviewing case studies of micro-markets and understanding how they can deliver social impact in terms of helping members of under-privileged communities start up.
Our team has also been out and about discussing the issue of micro-retail in the community. On 4 separate occasions in November and December, we’ve been invited to speak at different events:
- On November 10, 2015, we spoke alongside the Centre for Social Innovation and Westbank about our work with Honest Ed’s Alley & the value of micro-retail at the DECA Symposium (see our post here)
- On November 17, 2015, we spoke to 1122 Development Group about their idea to develop a container market in Buffalo, NY
- We spoke about the potential of micro-retail in laneways at Laneway Confessions – The Laneway Project’s 2nd annual summit on November 26, 2015
- We were invited by the Metcalf Foundation to be part of a panel on The Power of Civic Action – a celebration of the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee’s Community Market – and discussed some key trends that we have been seeing around micro-retail on December 11, 2015
It’s been a very busy fall indeed and we’ve been spending the holidays taking a moment to catch our collective breath so that we can sort through everything we have learned and experienced! One major take away for us has been the sheer interest around the city for micro enterprises. There is definitely hunger among Torontonians to have more local, independent businesses flourishing in their neighbourhoods.
As 2016 dawns, we believe that the future looks bright for the micro-enterprise sector. There continues to be amazing interest in entrepreneurship and small business and we look forward to continuing our work researching, designing and building spaces for micro-retail.