There is a long-standing tradition of night markets or bazaars in many Asian countries — in fact in A.D. 836 the Tang Dynasty in China felt it was necessary to put strict sanctions on the operations of these markets.  Modern visitors still enjoy strolling through the darkening streets while sampling food from various vendors and shopping from booths stocked with goods ranging from handcrafts to consumer goods.

Fast forward some 1200 years and you find night markets popping up in American cities.  California, with its large Asian population, has the greatest number of night markets. But they can now be found across the country.  Night Market Philadelphia was established in 2010 by the Food Trust to bring people together to celebrate local foods. The Queens Night Market  started out with the same goal, and now features up to 100 independent vendors selling merchandise, art, and food as well as small-scale cultural performances, all celebrating the cultural diversity and heritage of New York City and Queens.

The recently established Night Market here in Madison, Wisconsin is a project of the downtown BID district, in response to a study showing that shopping habits are shifting to later in the day.  Existing retailers are encouraged to set up a booth outside of their store to attract interest and sell some of their goods.  About 25 percent of the vendors at the first market were existing downtown businesses willing to offer a pop-up version of their retail stores. 

Entertainment, food and drink are part of the draw of night markets, which helps create an experience with a great appeal to a younger demographic. Making existing retailers a part of the mix is an excellent way to help these businesses expand their market share as they strive to compete with Amazon, discounters and other challenges. 

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder 

Please note that there will note be a Specialty Shop Retailing blog the following two Mondays due to the Memorial Day weekend holiday and my travel schedule.