Do you consider yourself a “friend” of the Broad Street Market?
If so, Josh Heilman wants to hear from you.
Heilman is the market’s new executive director, and, as one of his first major initiatives, he has launched a long-planned “Friends of the Market” program.
The new initiative allows residents to help the market through a yearly donation or by volunteering for certain events and activities. The goal of the program is to bring additional revenue and support to the Broad Street Market for renovations, events, merchandise and more.
“We’re looking to get monetary donations and volunteer time,” Heilman said. “The market kind of needs some work, so we’re looking for some extra sources of revenue.”
The immediate donations are going toward two different projects: installation of banners that will surround the market and replacing the string of roof lights on each building, which have been out for some 20 years.
Volunteers, also called “market ambassadors,” will be asked to help with landscaping, painting and any special events. According to Heilman, the market is planning to roll out a merchandise table by Christmas, which the volunteers will also help run. They’ll sell tote bags and eventually T-shirts and answer any questions people have about the market.
Members get an exclusive Broad Street Market tote bag, which serves as a member ID, access to special market events such as an upcoming barbecue in September, and discounts to certain stands in the market. Right now, Sweet 717 and R.G Hummer Meats & Cheese are offering 10 percent off to all members.
The idea for Friends of the Market came from Beth Taylor, former Broad Street Market manager and Amy Hill, president of the board of directors. The idea was brewing for about three years before Heilman and the board decided to implement it.
“That was my first goal of coming here, getting it launched,” Heilman said. “There were a lot of hiccups along the way. It was pushed back about 90 days. In August, I just decided that we needed to do it now and just go from there.”
They had a soft launch of the program in early August. Heilman is planning an official launch of the program in late September with a press conference, guest speakers and the unveiling of the new banners.
Heilman hopes the program will become a revenue driver and allow the market to work on even bigger projects such as replacing the doors and making the market more accessible to customers.
Even with its soft launch, the program has gained traction, already signing up 85 members.
“I was overwhelmed with the response of volunteering. It’s been amazing that people are willing to donate their time and money into the market,” Heilman said. “I think people love the market so much that they’re willing to pitch in and help out where it’s needed.”
For more information on how you can become a “Friend of the Market” visit broadstreetmarket.org/friends.