Even though we are kind of new to the Market, Luna Brothers has been around as a family business in New York City for almost 40 years. At Essex, my cousin Jose and I run the show.
It’s like a little super market. We have lots of different fruits, vegetables, and groceries, all kinds of stuff. And when a customer tells me my stuff tastes great, that makes me feel great too. One person tells another and that person tells another and we get lots of happy customers.
It’s great to be your own boss and work with family, there’s a special pride. You work harder but you’re working for you.
Owner, Puerto Rico Importing Company
My friend Kenny Shopsin had moved his business from the Village to the Market, he called me one day and said “hey Longo, you gotta come check out the Market!”. So I did and decided I wanted in. I grew up going to the Essex Market!
Coffee is a wonderful thing. It wakes us up in the morning. It brings people together through talk and socializing. It gets us going when we need a helpful boost. But for me, the greatest thing about coffee is how it brings out the idiosyncratic nature of the people who drink it. We coffee drinkers are very particular about how we prepare our morning brew. It becomes part of our comforting daily ritual. It gives us all an opportunity to be individuals in a world gone mad with constraints.
Director of Retail Operations, Davidovich Bakery Shop
Our signature product is our bagel. The recipe comes from the Ukraine family of our owner Gene Davidovich. It’s been handed down for generations.
Essex is our first retail space. Everyone here is so supportive, proud of their product, and so positive. It’s also special because of the Lower East Side’s Eastern European history - the bagel came to this country through here.
The word of mouth has been great. People get so excited about our bagels. It’s like they’re having a positive heart attack.
Yasha (Jacob) Mirzakandov
Owner, Aminova's Barbershop
I’ve been here over 20 years, a long, long time. It’s just been me, which I like. I learned to cut hair back in my homeland, Uzbekistan.
The market is very nice, with all sorts of stuff: new shops, new people, and more people. It’s very different. Whatever you want, it’s full service.
When I came, I got to make this place my place. I collect clocks, I have over 50 here and they all work but I turn the alarms off.
Manager, Pain D’Avignon
A trip to Essex Street Market is like shopping in a European market where vendors and consumers meet on common ground. Essex Street Market is steeped in a rich history and we knew it was the perfect space for Pain D'Avignon's first retail space.
Essex Street Market not only enables us to showcase our traditional, hand-made crusty breads but also helps us build relationships with our customers. We look forward to being at Essex Street Market for many more years to come.
Owner, Essex Farm Fruits and Vegetables
My brother and I started at the market over 15 years ago. My wife works here too. We started with a very small space, but over the years I’ve expanded to more than four times what we started with.
The neighborhood has changed. I grow with it so that I can have something for all my customers. Essex Farm is like a little grocery store—something for everyone.
My customers become my friends—we share stories and have a good time. It’s more than just selling to people, it’s getting to know people.
General Manager, Formaggio Essex
We sell all sorts of good food: cheese, charcuterie, pastas, olive oil, spices, etc. But we’re best known for our cheeses.
The market has vibrancy, it’s consistent, and it always works. You’re not assaulted by big chain garbage—for the most part, these are proud family owned businesses. It has that special feel of a public market.
Some of what we carry you can’t find anywhere else in the States. And when a customer eats and gets that ‘look,’ it just doesn’t get any better than that.
Co-founder, Luis Meat Market
My husband Luis and I have been at Essex as a family business for 17 years. We’ve seen a lot of changes. Things come and go, but we’re still here.
There’s this sense of community with both the vendors and our customers. It’s a special place and every day is like a new adventure—there’s always something.
And it’s a great feeling when our customers tell us our meat is fresh and delicious. 17 years and no matter how many times we hear that, it never gets old.
Jae Duk Suh
Founder, New Star Fish Market
I learned at an early age how to cut and prepare fish and taught my son when he was very young. It’s an art. We hand pick our fish so we know what we’re getting and what we are selling to our customers.
You can’t beat the people who live around here. They are very seafood oriented, so we knew this was the right spot.
We’ve had regular customers since the beginning. They’ve seen my son grow up at New Star. It’s the friendships, the bonds, and the small talk. We learn about each other’s lives.
Manager, La Tiendita/Lower East Side Girls CLub
I’ve been part of the Girl’s Club for almost my whole life. This is a program for the older girls to get real world experience.
Everything here, from the food to the aprons to the potholders is ‘girl made,’ and all the money goes back into the Girl’s Club.
It’s fantastic here. The vendors support each other and the community supports us. It’s an overall experience I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on.
Co-Owner, Ni Japanese Delicacies
I was a line cook for years and we heard about this place opening up so we took the chance. This is the first time I’ve had my own business, it’s been going really good. I do home-style authentic Japanese with my own little twist.
I live in the neighborhood, it’s home. My daughter, who is four, grew up in the market. The Lower East Side and Essex have an attractive mix of cultures. People down here are open to new things.
I do all the cooking here and cook seasonal dishes so I don’t get bored. When I’m not bored my customers are not bored. I feel great when I come to work.
Co-Owner with Ron Budinas, Rainbo’s Fish Market
My father was in the fish business years ago on Avenue C and he got me started at the market around 1976. My partner Ron and I have worked here ever since and Ronnie taught me more about fish than my father.
At the market, I know my customers’ names and they know my name. It’s like family. I thank my customers up and down when they tell me how good my fish is. It’s such a good thing to hear.
For me, the market is exciting. There are so many stories that I could go on and on and on for days.
Owner, Peasant Stock
I worked in the restaurant business for years and always wanted a place of my own, so here I am. I do soups, everything from scratch, right on site every day: family recipes and some new ones of my own.
The Market has a great history and there are a lot of female entrepreneurs. We support each other and visit to see what’s cooking that day and how business is.
I use the best ingredients and make small batches daily. It’s made with love. Every day, people say my soup is amazing and that’s great. The market is my dream come true.
Co-Owner, Nordic Preserves Fish & Wildlife Company
My partners Annika Sundvik and John Lavelle have been with me in the restaurant business on the Lower East Side for over 15 years, so Essex was a natural for us.
Annika inspired the Scandinavian food but we also like to have fun with the ingredients, many of which are sourced from the market.
At the market, I get to see the customers, their reactions and the feedback can be inspiring.
Sobeida de la Cruz
Manager, Viva Fruits and Vegetables
I was born and raised in this neighborhood, it’s my roots and Viva is a family business with 14 years at the market. It’s this little jewel of the Lower East Side. When people come in here they go ‘wow!’
Our specialty is Spanish food. My dad gets up at 2AM every day to buy the stuff we sell—every day for years.
My favorite is our pineapples. If they could talk they would say, ‘I’m pretty and so sweet.’
Giulia Della Gatta
Co-owner, Arancini Bros.
We chose Essex Street Market because it represents a special part of New York City. When anyone visits the Lower East Side, they get a truly intimate experience with the people who literally make the city “New York.” One word to best describe it is real. It is the place where people go to explore and be excited by things, and we are happy to be in that mix.
Our product is a traditional food: the Arancino — dating back to 10th Century Sicily. We have been committed to maintaining that essence of tradition but have merged it with contemporary tastes and modern thinking. Our passion is to deliver great food, and keep ourselves actively creative using quality ingredients and sought-after flavors.
Owner, Dominican Cravings
I went to the International Culinary Center and used to work in the kitchens of well-known chefs, but I always knew that I wanted to have my own business. I choose to operate in the market because I like the diversity among the people of the Lower East Side. I also like the culture and history of the market.
I make homemade Dominican food like how my grandma used to make it. The recipes I use have been passed on throughout generations, but I add my own twist by using different spices and flavors that I know my customers will like.
Irma Marmolejo & Jose
Owner and Son, Puebla Mexican
My mother used to own a storefront in the East Village, but had to close it due to rising rents. The market gave us another chance to start over and rebuild the business while still being close to home. I remember coming to the market as a child and running straight through the market from the entrance on Rivington to the entrance on Delancey.
We specialize in authentic Mexican food. All of the sauces we use in dishes like the chile relleno, mole poblano sauce, chorizo and carne al pastor are homemade.
Owner, Essex Olive & Spice House
I specialize in top quality extra virgin olive oil sourced from my family’s farm in Morocco as well as locally infused oils and vinegars, and top notch spices that you can taste and smell. I switched careers from corporate accounting to launching my own small business because I enjoy the reward of bringing high quality products to my customers. Since opening my stall in May 2017, I’m proud to be able to say that about 90% of my customers are returning customers.
The quaint character of the market makes it a gem in this neighborhood and reminds me of markets I’ve seen in Europe. You can really feel the strong camaraderie among the merchants which makes it a fun place to operate my business.
Owner, Top Hops
After operating my storefront on Orchard Street for a while, I grew to to love the neighborhood. I think Essex Street Market embodies the dynamic character of the neighborhood. The Lower East Side has always been home to various immigrant families yet is constantly evolving. The market retains the traditional character of the neighborhood through its diverse mix of vendors and customers, while welcoming newer residents. It is such a great opportunity to be a part of a collective of independent small businesses.
We specialize in craft bottled and canned beer that come from both local producers and broad regions. We’re always looking for feedback from the community and have beer in stock for everyone. Some of our unique beers include Cigar City, Marshal Zhukov Imperial Stout, and Trappistes Rochefort.