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The Cross Street Market
By Joseph A. Griffin
For BaltimoreStories.com

The Cross Street Market has survived 160 years of change. Its new challenge is the fast paced culture of the 21st Century. In a city that has let go of its industrial heritage, will the market survive for future generations?

FOR OVER ONE-HUNDRED-SIXTY YEARS… THE CROSS STREET MARKET HAS BEEN THE CORNER STONE OF SOUTH BALTIMORE. IT HAS SURVIVED THE CIVIL WAR, THE GREAT BALTIMORE FIRE OF NINETEEON-O-FOUR, TWO WORLD WARS, A TWELVE ALARM FIRE IN 1951, AND THE RIOTS OF THE 1960S. NOT A STRANGER TO CHANGE, THE MARKET HAS SEEN GOOD TIMES AND BAD. BUT TODAY IT FACES A NEW CHALLENGE…THE FAST PACED CULTURE OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY.

IN DECEMBER OF 2005 THE MARKET CELEBRATED ITS NEW RENOVATIONS WITH A GRAND RE-OPENING. MARKED BY BALLOONS, LIVE MUSIC, AND GUEST APPEARANCES BY SANTA CLAUS AND BALTIMORE MAYOR MARTIN O’MALLEY, THE EVENT WAS A RE-ASURING SIGN OF THE SURVIVAL FOR FENWICK’S CHOICE MEATS OWNER HENRY RI-SINGER.

TRACK 2 0:01:30 – 0:01:40 10SECS
…IT SHOWS SUPPORT IS STILL…
…THIS MARKET A MARKET, SO THERE IS SUPPORT HERE.

BUT SIX MONTHS AFTER THE OVERWHELMING TURN-OUT…RI-SINGER AND OTHER MERCHANTS ADMIT THAT AS FAR AS CREATING AN INCREASE IN BUSINESS…THE RENOVATIONS HAVE DONE LITTLE.
WANDA DEEWALT OF THE FLOWER SHOP HAS BEEN IN THE MARKET FOR TWENTY FIVE YEARS. SHE SAYS THAT THESE ARE TOUGH TIMES.

TRACK 3 0:01:00 – 0:01:04 4SECS
…WE’VE HAD BETTER, WE’VE HAD BETTER, IT’S PRETTY SLOW…
TRACK 3 0:00:41 – 0:00:46 5SECS
…IT STILL ISN’T WHAT YOU KNOW…WHAT WE HAD TEN YEARS AGO…
SO WHAT HAS CHANGED? INDUSTRIES THAT WERE ONCE STRONG HOLDS IN SOUTH BALTIMORE HAVE LEFT AND GONE, TRANSFORMING THE ONCE WORKING CLASSS NEIGHBORHOOD IN TO A POSH HOT SPOT FOR THE YOUNG AND WELL TO DO. WITH ROW HOMES GOING FOR NO LESS THAN HALF-A-MILLION DOLLARS… THE CHANGES HAVE USHERED IN A NEW CLIENTEL WITH A DIFFERENT WAY OF LIFE. A WAY OF LIFE THAT RI-SINGER FEELS IS CHALLENGING ING TO THE TRADITIONAL VENDORS OF THE MARKET.

TRACK 2 0:02:15 – 0:02:28 13SECS

…A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT IN TO COOKIN…
…MORE INTO GOING TO A BAR OR A PUB TO RELAX…
RISINGER’S OPINION CAN BE SUPPORTED BY A TWO-THOUSAND-ONE RESIDENTIAL ENERGY CONSUMPTION SURVEY CONDUCTED BY THE ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION SHOWS THAT ONLY A LITTLE OVER FORTY PERCENT OF HOUSEHOLDS COOK MORE THAN ONE MEAL A DAY, AND THAT NIUMBER IS STEADILY DECLINING.
THE QUESTION REMAINS. HOW WILL THEY SURVIVE? ACCORDING TO ANNA EPSILONIS OF BIG JIM’S DELI, BUSINESSES HAVE TO CHANGE.
TRACK 4 0:01:20 – 0:01:25 5SECS
…THE BUSINESSES ARE CHANGING TO MATCH THE CLIENTEL AND THAT HAS TO HAPPEN…

THE LARGEST HURDLE THAT MERCHANTS MUST OVERCOME IS THE LACK OF DAY TIME TRAFFIC. ALTHOUGH SOUTH BALTIMORE BOASTS AN ACTIVE NIGHT LIFE, EPSILONIS FEELS THAT THE ANSWER IS IN MORE RETAIL AND FEWER BARS.

TRACK 4: 0:01:40 – 0:02:00 20SEC
…MORE BOUTIQUE SHOPS, MORE RETAILERS…
…PEOPLE NEED MORE TO DO THAN EAT AND DRINK.
ALREADY, BARS OUT-NUMBER LOCAL REATAIL ALMOST TWO TO ONE. HIGH RENT COSTS FOR RETAIL SPACE IN SOUTH BALTIMORE MAKE MANY PROPRIETERS FEARFUL OF OPENING IN A NEIGHBORHOOD THAT DOESN’T HAVE THE FOOT TRAFFIC.

MANY MERCHANTS ALREADY ESTABLISHED IN THE AREA ARE TURNING TO OTHER RESOURCES TO BOOST BUSINESS. WANDA DEEWALT’S FLOWER STALL IS TURNING TO THE INTERNET.
TRACK 3 0:01:23 – 0:01:30 7SECS
…ITS NOT JUST WALK IN WE DO
…SO THAT’S HOW WE’RE DOING PRETTY GOOD.

NOT MATTER WHAT THE FUTURE BRINGS, THE MERCHANTS OF THE CROSS STREET MARKET HAVE A ROCKY ROAD AHEAD. ALL ARE CONFIDENT, HOWEVER, THAT THE MARKET WILL BE THERE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS TO ENJOY.