For more than 10 years, the Rockford City Market has been one of Rockford’s most beloved events. Hundreds of thousands of people have attended and hundreds of local vendors and musicians have participated. Downtown is typically teeming with people on Friday nights, something not seen in decades. The Market has helped many vendors move to storefronts and grow their businesses. And most importantly, it’s become a community gathering place along a beautiful river where one can enjoy friends, music, food and beverages.
In 2019, this small business opportunity was expanded to year-round with the construction of an additional venue in the indoor market. In the first year, the community enjoyed 53 events and food from new shops. By early 2020, the indoor market was well on its way to fulfilling its mission of connecting businesses and people and in becoming a gathering place downtown.
In March, everything changed. The market food hall remained open for carryout, but all events were cancelled. Trivia and painting nights, winter markets, yoga, and dance lessons were cancelled. Weddings and private parties were cancelled. Our shared kitchen sat empty. Every business sector that we operate is related to gathering, events, food, and drink - and all are restricted activities under COVID guidelines.
In May, the outdoor market season was postponed, opening in June under many restrictions that limited vendors. The unanticipated advent of COVID and social justice protests created a new dynamic for the market and drastically affected visitor attendance and the vendor experience. We appreciate those who visited last summer and we applaud our summer vendors and indoor tenants who have been working creatively to keep their businesses going in these unprecedented times. We are also grateful to our sponsors who remain committed.
Unfortunately, the significant decrease in attendance in 2020 resulted in a substantial deficit. There is much uncertainty about what 2021 will hold, and we cannot sustain the continued trends that occurred this year. As a lean operation, we are working diligently to survive the current challenges, but we need your support. The Rockford City Market has become a vital part of the region’s social fabric and must be sustained. We know it matters in bringing us together downtown and in fostering economic impact.
Please make a donation to help the Market through this difficult time. The Rockford City Market is owned and operated by the Rock River Development Partnership, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the law and the CARES Act provides new tax benefits to individuals and corporations for 2020 contributions to nonprofit organizations. *
Your donation receipt will be emailed to you from GoFundMe charity.
IF YOU'D LIKE TO WRITE A CHECK INSTEAD, make payable to RRDP and mail to RRDP, PO Box 4244, Rockford, IL 61110.
Your gift will enable more people and future generations to experience the Rockford City Market and downtown Rockford. We are grateful for your consideration.
*Please consult your tax advisor for more information and guidance on your individual situation.