A ribbon-cutting ceremony formally opened the Hope and Main Downtown Makers Marketplace at 100 Westminster Street in Providence on Wednesday. The marketplace is a combination eatery/retail outlet featuring food products launched from Hope and Main in Warren, a local food incubator.

State and local officials, including Governor McKee and members of the RI Congressional delegation, spoke at the event stressing the importance of small business development in Rhode Island. Hope and Main founder Lisa Raiola drew attention to the need to create more equitable access for emerging “food-preneurs” throughout the state.

The event Wednesday also included remarks from business owners Minnie Luong of Chi Kitchen and Ramon Hinds, who created Orisirisi Spice of Life. Hope and Main has helped over 450 food businesses launch since opening in 2018 in Warren. Over 90 businesses are presently based there.

 More on Hope and Main Downtown Makers Market:

This new urban eatery and local market will occupy the ground floor of Paolino Properties’ 100 Westminster Street office building, adjacent to the Beatrice Hotel and the Superman Building in the heart of the Financial District. Open for breakfast and lunch, the Downtown Makers Marketplace, will offer hand-crafted and locally sourced made-to-order items, grab-and-go hot and cold foods, corporate catering, plus a curated selection of Hope & Main members’ products and prepared foods. It will also feature a coffee, tea and craft beverage bar anchored by Schasteâ, a Providence tearoom that is also a Hope & Main member business.

The Downtown Makers Marketplace is designed to highlight Hope & Main’s culinary creators. As part of an innovative incubation program to test drive new food ideas, Hope & Main entrepreneurs will prepare and sample items representative of their business concepts and unique food heritage ranging from places like Ethiopia and Trinidad, to Israel and Mexico, to Cambodia and the Philippines.

Raiola says, “The Hope & Main Downtown Makers Marketplace is a place dedicated to showcasing the enormous talent of our emerging and iconic member businesses. We have launched more than 450 food businesses in nine years. This project is about giving our diverse community of food-preneurs access to markets and consumers they could not otherwise reach. It is very costly for new brands to find their way to grocery store shelves or onto menus of established restaurants, and that makes it challenging for them to scale. We know how good these products are and can’t wait to accelerate the success of these makers.”

The 100 Westminster Street venue will support what’s new in local food and will create opportunities to explore the foodways of many cultures that increasingly define Rhode Island’s signature culinary landscape.

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Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music, the arts and more for What'sUpNewp. He is also a contributor to Providence Monthly, SO RI, Hey Rhody and The Bay magazines. Ken DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse,"...