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Economy

New International Market In The Works For Boise, But It Won’t Be The Boise International Market

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Adam Cotterell
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Boise State Public Radio
Days after the fire a Boise International Market vendor talks with a supporter. Next door was a garden where some of the shop owners grew vegetables they sold inside.

The Boise International Market had been operating less than a year when it burned down in September. Since the fire, people have been asking if the popular destination for food, imports and culture would be rebuilt. We still don’t know the answer to that, but we do know something similar is on the way.

Some of the business owners that made up the Boise International Market, many of whom were refugees and immigrants, got started with loans and training from the nonprofit Jannus. But the market itself was an independent, for-profit enterprise. Now Jannus is moving forward with its own version.

Jannus found a place where some of the international market’s vendors now operate on Saturdays (Trailhead in downtown Boise). And the organization is actively looking for a permanent home for what it calls the Global Community Market. Beth Geagan, Jannus’ Economic Opportunity Director, says it could take months to find a space because they want something bigger, and in many ways different, from the Boise International Market.

“The old international market was primarily just focused on the retail component,” Geagan says. “We intend to have a social enterprise manager on site, as well as business development specialists and trainers on site.”

Geagan says they want the space to include training facilities for refugees and other would-be entrepreneurs as well as office space for Jannus and other service providers.

Since the fire, Boise International Market co-owner Lori Porreca says they’ve been dealing with a lot of difficult things like insurance and the investigation, which Boise police recently said was arson. Porreca says they still don’t know if they can or should rebuild. Geagan says if they do, there is enough demand for two similar places. Porreca, though, doesn’t think so. Both say there is potential for cooperation. 

Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

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