Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles sets up new ‘Bazaar’ format, teams up with local artists, vendors during COVID-19 pandemic

Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles sets up new ‘Bazaar’ format, teams up with local artists, vendors during COVID-19 pandemic

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) — When you think of Grand Central Market, you probably think about food. But the coronavirus pandemic is changing the items now being sold there. Business owners are taking advantage of a new “Bazaar” format by teaming up with local artists and vendors who hope a little creativity can turn things around.

Ugonna Onyekwe lost his job once COVID-19 struck. He and his wife took the hit as an opportunity and started “Lil,” designing for a hip, young crowd.

“You know a few of the food vendors have shut down since COVID, and that kind of opened up the space because there wasn’t really retailers here before,” said Onyekwe.

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The L.A. County Health Department’s shutdown of indoor dining changed the way Grand Central Market operated. The market helped some legacy vendors pivot to take-out. But then it also got creative and shifted gears.

“We actually decided to invite merchants, artists, any independent makers to come and set up Thursday through Sunday,” said Erin Mavian, Grand Central Market’s creative director.

Now dubbed “Grand Central Bazaar,” the space is now open for vendors who sell things from clothing, to jewelry – trying to make up for what the pandemic has taken away.

“We’re still trying to figure it all out, but the weeks we’ve been here have been pretty decent so far,” said Onyekwe. “It’s been nice adding that all in with what we do online.”

“Because of COVID, a lot of people were afraid to come out, but in these two weeks, I see there is a lot more traffic,” said Khrystyne Chong.

The market plans to keep the “Bazaar” going, and might even expand it to seven days a week sometime starting in 2021.

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