Amid the pomp of a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony and cries of “Finally” from vendors and eager customers alike, East End Market, a self-described cultural food hub, opened on Friday. Today it is closed, and will likely remain shuttered for the rest of this week.
The reasons are twofold, developer John Rife said. “For many of our tenants this is the first time they have operated a retail store,” he said in an email. “The overwhelming attendance and demand this weekend was far more than anticipated.” So, he said, the down week would “give them a chance to catch their breath, put some systems in place to meet demand.”
But the other reason for the closing is that the market, which occupies a repurposed two-story building that was once a church complex, has not fully satisfied city code inspectors. “The building still has some life safety deficiencies, mostly with the second floor emergency lighting and stairwells,” Rife said.
“As much as I want to shake my fist at the City’s system,” Rife told me, “East End Market is an immensely complex project and it means implementing a host of creative solutions to deal with the particular issues faced by this adaptive reuse development.
“Creativity and code compliance do not pair well,” he added.
Indeed, with a host of invitations sent for the Friday ceremony, and the sold-out event featuring food from the Market’s purveyors that evening, Rife was faced with having to cancel pending the final permit. “Despite those [safety] deficiencies,” Rife said, “[city officials] graciously allowed us to open this weekend only requiring me to have a fire marshal on-site to keep the general public safe.”
East End Market, at 32-1 Corrinne Drive, is unique to Central Florida, bringing under one roof a full-time collection of vendors usually found at weekly farmers markets. They include Olde Hearth Bread Co., Skyebird Juice Bar, Local Roots Farm Store, Old, Inc. design, Fatto in Casa Italian specialties, la Femme du Fromage cheesemonger, and Houndstooth Sauce Company, among others. In addition, Cuisiniers Catering is relocating its headquarters there, and restaurateurs Henry and Michele Salgado of Spanish River Grill in New Smyrna Beach are opening a new restaurant, Txokos Kitchen, which is still under construction.
East End Market plans to reopen Saturday, Nov. 2, at 10 a.m.