When two neighborhood institutions decided to share a space, there was a lot of energy and excitement, but the two parts didn’t quite gel.
Something was missing, and they weren’t sure what.
The Fulton Stall Market was a community market that also served as hub of community activity and showcased local farmers and artisanal producers, while Little Water Radio was a meeting ground for local creatives and was a venue for up and coming musicians.
Their shared space in the South Street Seaport should have been a hive of activity, but the two halves just weren’t connecting.
Fortunately, nothing gets people together like a beverage, and that’s where Market Bar stepped in.
If FSM and LWR were the only parties involved with this project, then adding a bar would’ve been a simple matter of filing the paperwork and building it out. But they weren’t.
Both organizations enjoyed the support of local real estate developers, enabling them to survive in a hostile retail climate without having to sacrifice their community-centric identity.
The market was also home to a range of independent community organizations and startups, all of whom felt invested in the market’s mission.
Making this project work would require support from everyone.
Before we could present an idea that would get universal support, we had to get all the stakeholders to define who they were and what they wanted this new space to be. And the only way to do that was to ask a lot of questions and listen closely to the answers.
By engaging with all the immediate stakeholders, as well as other community partners, we were able to pull out common threads that connected all the stakeholders and define a concept that spoke to their shared goals.
Further, the interviews and ideation process lead stakeholders to take ownership of the project, to see it as a space that they were an important part of creating, not merely an amenity that was being added to their business
FSM and LWR were intensely focused on promoting the hard work of creative and passionate makers and they were both keen on supporting the local community that included and celebrated those makers.
Meanwhile, the real estate developers was similarly guided by the goal of building and supporting community and celebrating the passion and energy of lower Manhattan as an area that has long mixed culture with commerce, and that still hums with entrepreneurial energy and passion.
As they key point of connection for these different groups, Market Bar needed to be a place that celebrated local makers while also making sure it was authentically supporting the small businesses of the maker community.
The Market Bar concept spoke to these shared goals and provided a nexus around which different communities could gather.
By proudly supporting only locally made NY beer and wine, recruiting local artists to design the bar, and through organizing events that celebrated local food & beverage purveyors, we were able to pull together the ideas of Localism, Creativity, Passion, and Making in a way that spoke to all our partners.
With the identity and the mission of Market Bar spelled out, we had to engage FSM and LWR and enlist their help in getting buy-in from all their community partners -from small community organizations to corporate supporters.
To do that, the story of Market Bar needed to be condensed down to concise talking points and shared with our partners so they could speak knowledgeably about Market Bar’s identity and become advocates for the brand.
With the message being spread through the community and with a series of events to highlight our mission, we were able to get the support we needed to turn the concept into a reality.