ReVive Opportunity Grant yields Basnight Market “Garden Spot”
A new weekend market for food entrepreneurs is coming to Downtown Chapel Hill. Garden Spot is located behind Lantern Restaurant (423 W. Franklin St.), with events planned to utilize the additional space of Basnight Alley. Through this program, participating small food businesses will have access to low-cost commercial kitchen space and other support, including business mentorship, networking, marketing, and local business-development resources. Garden Spot will be a new opportunity for community members and visitors to gather and support local businesses.
The Lantern Restaurant project is one of the opportunity grant recipients from the Town of Chapel Hill, awarded as part of the ReVive recovery plan. The program was developed with partners which include the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership (CHDP), Durham Tech’s Small Business Center, and the Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro. When asked about the inspiration for the program, Lantern chef Andrea Reusing said “we believe independent small businesses are not amenities, but foundational to our town’s economic and civic health. Supporting a more diverse business community is part of creating a more welcoming Downtown.” Program Coordinator Abby Parcell added, “our expansive definition of hospitality extends beyond guests to cooks, vendors, farmers, and all of our neighbors—and we believe that hospitality can create joyful gatherings where everyone is invited to the party.”
Both the Town of Chapel Hill and CHDP is excited to see this market open and support new entrepreneurs, having provided the funding necessary to light the adjacent alley. Chapel Hill Economic Development, through the Chamber of Commerce, also will provide participants of the initial residencies with financial stipends. Stephanie Colbert, CHDP Director of Marketing, stated “We are excited about this new venture and look forward to welcoming local artisans, farmers, and culinary artists to Downtown Chapel Hill. We are confident that the Garden Spot will become another popular program in our community, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.” This entrepreneurial opportunity fulfills many of the shared goals of the Town and CHDP. According to Dwight Bassett, Economic Director for the Town, “the Town’s ReVive Recovery plan was to help our community return to pre-pandemic activity levels. This market will help bring traffic Downtown while supporting women and minority businesses. We believe this to be an exciting addition to Downtown Chapel Hill”.
New lighting in Basnight Alley funded by the Town of Chapel Hill and CHDP
In addition to the Town and CHDP support, Garden Spot has developed programming for vendors through partnerships with Durham Tech Community College Small Business Center (SBC). An advisory group, which includes community leaders and business owners, will bring both industry knowledge and life experience to share with the participants; a critical part of the community that will grow in Garden Spot.
The Garden Spot team will review applications on a rolling basis, with vendor interviews occurring in March, August, and November. Each residency period will last four weeks with 3-4 vendors, with a mix of products and experience to maximize attendance and exposure. The application is available online in both English and Spanish. Before each residency session, our department will highlight the vendor participants and their business stories. The Garden Spot team is planning their kick-off event for mid-April.
For more information on participating in the market please visit www.backlotgardenspot.com or contact email@example.com
The Town of Chapel Hill is working in collaboration with the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership and Innovate Carolina as we work to improve our downtown, balancing tradition with progress in downtown Chapel Hill, making it a vibrant place to work, live, play, and shop.