The Dallas Farmers Market welcomed more than 10,000 people this weekend for the opening of The Shed. Vendors began moving into the space Thursday evening from Shed 3 in anticipation of the Labor Day weekend crowd.
The Shed, a space formerly known as Shed 1, offers a customer-driven shopping experience featuring new food vendors alongside perennial crowd favorites.
The Shed has doubled the size of the market’s operating room, with 153 vendor stalls now available. The market spent nine months researching shoppers and vendors’ needs and working with architects and interior designers in preparation for the renovations within The Shed.
The renovations are detailed and strategic–even down to the interior paint job, which was taken from a photo of a bright, Texas sky and matched specifically for The Shed, said Emily Valentino, director of operations for Dallas Farmers Market. The end result is an open-flow, climate-friendly space that can easily expand and compress when necessary.
The opening of The Shed ushers in a new era for the Dallas Farmers Market, which is one of the largest and oldest public markets in the United States, with plans for Shed 2 revealed as well. The space, now closed for remodeling, will include four anchor restaurants with interior and patio dining, a mix of local artisan and food vendors and Mudhen, a 5,500-square-foot, free-standing restaurant and beer garden from restaurateur Shannon Wynne when it re-opens in the spring, Valentino said.
With anticipation of the modifications brewing, since April, the market has seen a 30 percent increase in new vendors such as Kai Oredugba, a Los Angeles transplant. Oredugba, who owns Cup + Leaf Artisan Teas + Spices, loves the synergy The Shed’s layout is providing customers and vendors. “Everything you need, you can get it in one place,” Oredugba says, motioning to his vendor neighbor who sells olive oil. “The layout feels more open,” he says. “It’s lighter and brighter.”
Davio Ventouras, owner of Boom Juice, feels at home in the market’s new space. Ventouras, who sells an assortment of 100 percent organic juices and coffees, is a working part of The Shed’s synergy, as he partners with produce vendors to create some of his products. The new space is paying off for him, too. “We’ve sold more coffee in the past two days than in the last month combined,” Ventouras says.
In addition to the aesthetics and functionality of The Shed, the market’s offerings have also been upgraded, with signage providing more information such as the name of the product, price, area of origin and any other information the customer may find relevant in the purchasing process.
The market will begin construction on a parking structure this fall.
In addition to the daytime market, which is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Dallas Farmers Market operates a nighttime wholesale market from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. that is open to chefs and the public from May to November. Beginning Sept. 11, the market will host “Market After Dark” every Thursday, in which the retail businesses remain open until around 8 p.m. In partnership with Downtown Dallas, “Market After Dark” hopes to target the residential area that continues to grow around the market.