Taste new cultures at Global Market
Marketplace gives customers a chance to buy unique food and items, BIPOC entrepreneurs a chance to learn how to start their business.
The Olmsted County Fairgrounds are getting a little global attention lately.
The Global Market , hosted in Aune Hall in the fairgrounds, is a family-friendly winter event in Rochester that launched near the end of 2022.
The Global Market is presented by several local cultural groups to showcase diverse food and cultural traditions and encourage entrepreneurship.
“The idea behind the Global Market is to give an opportunity for our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) to start entrepreneurship without having to worry about all of the barriers but having the experience and the process of starting a business,” says co-founder Kim Sin, giving a lot of credit for the idea behind the market to Martha Yiglletu, another co-founder of the endeavor.
Sin, an information technology professional at University of Minnesota Rochester for his day job, says the Global Market has partnerships with the Chinese American Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Hmong Chamber of Commerce, Asian Media Access, Asian American Business Resilience Network, The Village Agricultural Cooperative, Small Business Development Center, and the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.
The Bad Mo Pho Phamily gave the Global Market a grant of $2,500. Sin extends special thanks to Dee Sabol, the former executive director with the Rochester Diversity Council, for her work helping the Global Market, in part by facilitating the council’s role as a fiscal agent for the market’s grant applications.
Radwa Abdallah sold custom creations such as water bottles, canvases and key chains adorned with the word “love” and two cats with intertwined tails during a recent Global Market on Feb. 4. Abdallah calls her small business “Sama Corner.” Abrar Alboushi, Abdallah's "best friend," was there helping set up and sell to customers.
Abdallah’s stand at the market had a hand-lettered sign that was topped in large letters that said, “Everything can be customized.” It also listed some of the products Sama Corner offered like mugs, tumblers, bookmarks, coasters and makeup pallets.
Across from Sama Corner, a few food vendors offered fare from afar. One warmed up some round white cornflower bread on a griddle. It could be topped with chicken avocado salad, refried beans or cheese.
The Global Market is held twice a month on Saturdays through March at Aune Hall (also known as the 4H building) at the Olmsted County Fair Grounds. The next markets are scheduled for Feb. 18, March 4 and March 18.
Over several Saturdays, the Global Market offers food, both savory and sweet, from Indonesia, Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Eritrea, Somalia, Mexico, Nigeria, and of course the United States. The market’s online advertising says, “You are invited to experience unique authentic flavor and vibrant tradition.” Each Global Market offers four different food vendors the opportunity to sell their delicious creations.
Classes are even being offered to teach those interested how to make some of these tasty dishes from other cultures. For instance, a class was advertised for Feb 4 teaching those who registered how to make egg rolls. On March 4, Sin says the Global Market will offer a class on how to prepare stir-fried chicken with lemon grass.
“Our event supports all people that are interested in retail and food producers, so they can learn from each others' business concept,” Sin says. “Everyone is welcome to join to be a vendor.”
He adds, “As the City of Rochester grows bigger and bigger, we need to start to give our visitors a diverse experience eating and shopping.”
Part of the Global Market’s goals are to provide training for those interested in starting new businesses. Sin says that a partnership with the Small Business Development Center created an opportunity for the Global Market to offer a “culturally responsive business startup” workshop that offers some hands-on experience. The workshop will take place on Feb. 18 from 10 a.m. to noon.
Sin says that groups like the Rochester Cambodian Association and Ethiopian community have made it clear that “there is a lot of interest in starting their own business.”
“In order for us to build confidence in our BIPOC (community),” says Sin, the plan is, “to remove all of the barriers for them to focus on cooking or making the food and let the Global Market group take care of the rest.”
One of the barriers the market removes is a fee to set up a booth. All the vendors participate free of charge.
This season, Sin says University of Minnesota Rochester students are helping the Global Market look down the road by planning and marketing for next year.
“We want to do more, especially in the performance art and music," says Sin. “I think it is very important for our community, and I hope we get more support from local organizations.”
If you go
The Global Market
Where: Aune Hall, Olmsted County Fairgrounds, 1508 Aune Drive, SE, Rochester.
When: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Feb. 18, March 4, March 18.
Visit on the web through experiencerochestermn.com .