Cork public loving dockland markets

Cork’s market scene has flourished during the pandemic, with two new markets opening in Cork’s docklands. Roisin Burke finds out more about the markets and the various plans to grow the ventures in 2022
Cork public loving dockland markets

Foodcourt / dining area for customers at Marina Market, Centre Park Road, Cork on Saturday morning. Pic: Larry Cummins

CORK’S market scene has been enhanced and expanded along the docklands over the past year thanks to the Marina Market on Centre Park Rd and the newly established Black Market on Monahan Rd.

The Marina Market, which turned one year old in September, has more than 35 full-time vendors on-site with a wide range of weekend traders and events.

The market was set up by a local property management company, with the business model focused on giving entrepreneurs a place to grow within Ireland.

Speaking to The Echo, marketing manager Eoin Ederham said local businesses were prioritised.

“We are open to any idea or any business, but we try to choose local as much as possible,” he said.

 Interior view of The Black Market, Monahan Road, Cork (beside Main Port).Pic: Larry Cummins
Interior view of The Black Market, Monahan Road, Cork (beside Main Port).Pic: Larry Cummins

“Recently we have just brought in a nail and lash bar, crazy golf, and [there are] plans to do more retail in the future.”

Discussing the thoroughfare at the market, Eoin said the Marina Market would have a range of around 2,000-8,000 visitors on weekdays, and much more on the weekends.

The idea for the market was based on the markets seen elsewhere in the world.

Chatting about the success of the venture, Eoin said they had no expectation that the idea would travel as well as it has.

“I think, in opening a business in the last two years, it would be impossible to judge how successful you could be,” he said.

Staff Katie Malone and Mark Scanlan at Marina Market. Pic: Larry Cummins
Staff Katie Malone and Mark Scanlan at Marina Market. Pic: Larry Cummins

“All the challenges brought along with Covid and transforming a run-down warehouse into a market would always prove difficult.”

Eoin said there was a wealth of talent available at the time of start-up which helped give the project every possible chance of success.

“With much of the hospitality market closed down at times, we had people looking for something to do, and luckily, we were able to operate.”

Eoin said the vendors are a major part of its success.

“Each of our vendors has a story — they are local, some have always wanted to do something like this, some are forced to try something due to Covid. Many of our businesses in there have reinvested within a year. We installed permanent units during the year, and many of our original vendors moved into these permanent units. They believed in the long-term success of the market, and they are trying and adapting every week.”

 Marina Market, Cork.Pic: Larry Cummins
Marina Market, Cork.Pic: Larry Cummins

A major focus of the Marina Market team is to keep bringing people down to the market.

“The in-house team focuses on events and footfall activities to keep a steady stream. A major part of our success is the people of Cork, too. They have been so good to us from the very start, and keep coming back. The market has a few things that also really helped our success, and that was being dog-friendly, and free parking.”

While Eoin said he believes the idea would have taken off in a normal year, the marketing manager said Covid may have escalated the progress of the project.

“I believe the idea was always great for Cork and would have worked in the long run. Covid maybe sped the process along, with awareness of the market and extra footfall from most people not being able to travel. I can’t attribute too much praise to the pandemic, as it brought along so many challenges for us and our vendors.”

Looking ahead, Eoin said the Marina Market is gunning to become a “major event space in Cork”.

Georgia Keating of Guji coffee bar in their pink container at the Marina market. Pic: Larry Cummins
Georgia Keating of Guji coffee bar in their pink container at the Marina market. Pic: Larry Cummins

“We are in a unique position to hold community events and try anything and everything, without major costs associated. In 2021 we held music festivals, science shows, pop-up movies, pumpkin patches, and lots more. We have created and defined new spaces for hire, and we want people to host with us. We have great platforms to promote and sell tickets, and we want to make these available to everyone.

“We also want to focus on our retail offering and ensure that the market is not just for food. Again, creating energy and ideas through each other’s work.”

Looking to the year ahead, Eoin said they have plans to grow the market in 2022.

“We will be creating and trying more things than ever — 2021 showed us what the community wants from the market — and in ’22, we will deliver these. At the moment we are working hard on sustainability, and recently created a whole new waste management and food-waste system. We want to improve our carbon footprint as much as possible into the new year.

“We are also hoping to do a lot more events like expos, antique and yard sales, community-driven charity events, kids’ parties, and even more exciting is we plan to pay homage to the original Ford Factory that is now our home. We are very grateful to be where we are, and we want the history to shine through the market this year.

Pawel Dolinski of YOUNG PLANT. Pic: Larry Cummins
Pawel Dolinski of YOUNG PLANT. Pic: Larry Cummins

“2022 is the year to have the Marina Market on the map and be one of Cork’s top tourist destinations.”

Following in the footsteps of the Marina Market is The Black Market (TBM) on Monahan Rd.

Speaking to The Echo, a spokesperson for new business explained how the market was established.

“I was one of the first to open a food offering in the Marina Market. During the time I decided I’ll open my own market, but unlike the great job they have done in the Marina Market, we wanted to create a venue/market.”

 Exterior view of The Black Market, Monahan Road, Cork (beside Main Port).Pic: Larry Cummins
Exterior view of The Black Market, Monahan Road, Cork (beside Main Port).Pic: Larry Cummins

The Black Market, which has been open three months, is a smaller venture than the Marina Market, but still has a number of food offerings, including pizza, burritos, burgers, and ice cream, as well as a coffee hub.

Chatting about the two markets, the TBM spokesperson said they view them as two completely different offerings, saying: “The future of The Black Market is not to conform to the norm, and we are creating an environment for people to have an experience like no other.”

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