Vendors pouring into THE Urban Market
Since its opening in October, THE Urban Market in downtown Reno has been partnering with a bevy of local food vendors.
The latest to sign a deal is Icecycle Creamery, a Reno-based maker of unique flavors of ice cream and sorbet. The owners, Jeremy and Leilani Demarzo, had been making the product out of their own home since starting their company in 2014.
Icecycle offers flavors such as Earl Grey, Eggnog, Home Means Nevada Sage & Pinenut, and Chocolate Salted Lavender.
Denise Barcomb, who co-owns THE Urban Market at the corner of Third and West streets with her husband, Dale, said even more local vendors could be coming in, too. They’ve been reaching out to a number of others for space inside their market, and are always open to new suggestions via THE Urban Market’s website and in-store check-out stations.
Early on, THE Urban Market received an influx of inquiries into grocery food offerings, ranging from paleo or vegan options to organic produce to non-food items such as pet products and supplies.
“It’s all about taking requests from the community,” Denise Barcomb said. “We’re not trying to create what we want. It’s about creating what the customers want.”
The Barcombs and their staff, called UMbassadors, have been marketing THE Urban Market in a variety of ways.
They recently participated in the annual downtown Reno Veterans Day Parade, handing out flyers and meeting with folks on the street and meeting with business owners.
THE Urban Market is located at the Third Street Flats in downtown Reno in the area of what was the former Kings Inn. While it fills a much-needed food and grocery niche for downtown, offering seasonal produce, take-out meals, bakery goods, craft beers and wines and standard grocery fare, the staff has found people are not aware of the outlet.
“Bringing awareness to THE Urban Market is the biggest challenge we face right now,” Denise Barcomb said. “We still have people come in and still say they didn’t realize we were here.”
In an effort to remedy the apparent lack of awareness, the Barcombs are experimenting with a few marketing possibilities. They approached John and Mercedes Burkavage, owners of Big Horn Oil. John Burkavage recently purchased the radio station KUEZ-104.1 FM in Reno and will be featuring periodic radio spots for the market.
They also have had preliminary discussions regarding other partnerships including Deluxe, a restaurant at West Street Market also in downtown Reno which has been promoting its space for events and meetings for organizations.
The Barcombs said they want to get involved in more local events or even organize their own events such as food tastings featuring local offerings they have on their shelves.
“We’re getting good traction,” Denise Barcomb said. “Would we like it to go faster? Absolutely, but we’re making progress. If we keep going at the pace we’re at right now, we should be able to break even within six months.”
“I point out many cases of where privately owned companies do just as bad a job as publicly owned companies,” says Reno resident and former teacher Robert (R.D.) Gardner.