The Phoenix public market and Food Truck Friday stimulate the community and economy.
Each Friday on Central and Fillmore, students, seniors and dressed-down businessmen and women mingle and munch at an event that not only satiates the appetite, but stimulates the economy, too — the Friday Food Truck event at the Phoenix Public Market.
In 2010, the Phoenix Street Food Coalition joined forces with the Phoenix Public Market to create the first Food Truck Friday event, which launched that November with five trucks. Since then, the event has had to adapt to the growing number of patrons.
Brad Moore, owner of Short Leash Hotdogs and founder of the Phoenix Street Food Coalition, says the number of food trucks has doubled, increasing from five to 11.
“(Food Truck Friday) has been instrumental in helping food truck owners grow their business, and I think its helped to contribute to the overall awareness and success of the Phoenix Public Market,” Moore says.
The Phoenix Public Market recently added a covered patio with family-style seating where customers are able to converse and catch some shade. Moore says, on average, about 750 customers attend each Friday; and it’s quite the diverse group, too.
“We’ve seen everything from stay-at-home moms and those in the workforce, to senior citizens taking field trips to the Market, ASU classes reserving tables and civic groups,” says Cindy Gentry, executive director of Community Food Connections. “We’ve seen quite the range of people.”
Gentry, Moore and Cindy Dach, director of Roosevelt Row, all agree that the weekly Food Truck Friday event helps strengthen the sense of community within downtown area.
“It has a significant impact,” Dach says. “The success of Phoenix relies on the experience. People want to walk and bike and see a familiar face. The Market is a catalyst for that community impact.”
Because of the growing success and popularity of the event, the Market has added Wheel Food Wednesday to its events calendar, which features about nine food trucks. They have also extended the time of Food Truck Friday an extra half hour. They’re even planning to expand the venue’s space — into the street.
“Because the event is growing and more people are attending,” Gentry says, “the next frontier is to close off the street.”