Responses to Vendor Questions

Application Questions

What are the selection criteria and how are they weighted?
Please review our About Being a Vendor page for an outline of our selection criteria. No one criterion in our selection process is more heavily weighted than the other. We will consider established local businesses, as well as start-ups and everything in between.

How is our location within the market decided?
Available stalls are leased based on the best fit. Considerations include infrastructural needs, size, and neighboring vendors.

What if we are a new business?
All vendors who submit an application will be considered for a space, and if you make it to the next stage we will work with you through the process.

Leasing and Design Questions

May I submit an application with another vendor who will share an indoor space with me in 6-month increments?
Yes.

Does the market have any shared storage or refrigeration?
Health department regulations prohibit shared storage. Each vendor must plan to their own storage within their leased stall space.

Is there a limit to the number of vendors in each product category?
We will have a market mix with specific goals regarding the number of vendors in each category. You can find a copy of this in our business plan.

Will we be allowed to design our own spaces?
All selected vendors will receive a copy of our Tenant Guidelines and Standards to help inform their booth's build out/design and maintain overall market standards, while keeping each individual vendor's unique look and feel. We will work with vendors and their construction/design team throughout the process.

Will vendors be working with BPMA's contractors or their own contractor for booth build-outs?
Vendors may choose their own contractors. All contractors must be licensed and bonded. Contractors are responsible for securing all necessary permits, and BPMA will monitor the entire build-out process closely. Additional information on the buildout process is available upon request.

Do outdoor market vendors unload from the loading dock or separate area?
The outdoor market has access to outdoor loading/offloading adjacent to the plaza in an area along Surface Street reserved for outdoor market vendors only.

Does food need to go in and out daily?
No - vendors keep their goods at the market overnight.

Do stalls have security gates?
The booths do not have security gates. Vendors may choose to build storage units in their booths, and select locking refrigerators and/or freezers.

Will our merchandise be safe after the market closes at 8pm? Will the building have security?
The market hall is locked after the market closes. We have security and an electronic security system.

Does the market operate as a 30,000 sq. ft. entity or as a series of smaller businesses from a permitting perspective?
All vendors will work directly with Boston's Inspectional Services department to ensure health code compliance and all other necessary permitting. 

How long are lease terms?
We expect that most will be annual commitments. For some of our vendors requiring more intensive build outs, we expect longer lease terms. 

Could you clarify what will be included in the rental agreement? Will there be additional charges for utilities, maintenance, insurance, marketing and security? What percentage of sales should we offer to pay to cover these expenses?
Vendors will pay the following: Base rent for space + percentage of sales + utilities (booth & shared) = total monthly expense. Vendors' monthly expenses (as defined above) will cover all common items such as: security, janitorial, trash, marketing, advertising, master insurance and other common expenses. The utility charges will reflect the individual booth's utility use and a shared portion of the overall market's utilities.

What will the percentage of sales be?
We will negotiate a small percentage of sales with each vendor individually.

Why wouldn't you be open 7 days a week to start?
It's our plan to expand to 7 days of operation within the first two years. We are ramping up slowly to ensure that the market works, and also for our vendors who may need some time to increase their capacity. If there is enough pressure from our vendors, we will expand to 7 days sooner, rather than later.

Is it mandatory that stalls are open when the market is open? When does that allow for a vendor's stall renovation? We require all vendors to operate from 8am-8pm. Maintenance is typically conducted in off hours, but we will work with you to accommodate your needs with repairs and renovations.

Is the market air conditioned and heated?
Yes.

What are the delivery limitations and hours for loading dock access?
We are working with a traffic consultant to maximize the use of the loading area. Vendors will be asked to deliver on a schedule that will extend beyond market hall hours. Aggregators, such as a guild or co-op will need be mindful of limiting individual deliveries as part of their operations plan and we will work with vendors to find solutions. Applicants should take into account the amount of dry and cold storage needed in their stalls to reduce the amount of deliveries needed.

Are there parking spaces for vendors?
Parking within the building is for customers only -- not for vendors. We can share a list of garages in the area upon request.

Can two businesses that sell different items, partner in a stall?
Yes, we think this is great. For example we have one winter-only vendor who wishes to partner with a summer-only vendor.

Are utilities be sub-metered?
No. Each vendor is placed in a high, medium, or low category of usage based on the infrastructure in their stall and utilities are divided based on square footage and usage category.

Is there Wi-Fi?
Yes, there is a secure internal Wi-Fi system that is not publicly accessible.

Product and Sourcing Questions

How will inspections be done?
If you are an existing business an inspector will come out to view your fields or production facility initially and then on an ongoing, random basis. Regarding produce, we have agreed that our vendors will not source from the New England Produce Center in Chelsea, MA and need to make sure they are growing their products on their land. For prepared foods, we want to verify that their facilities are located in New England and utilize local ingredients whenever possible.

Can non-edible items that are related to agriculture and food be sold?
Yes, but the Boston Public Market is primarily a food market.

If we were to suffer a total crop failure from factors such as a hailstorm or killing frost, would we be allowed to bring in products from other growers?
Yes, we would ask that you inform the market management staff of the supplemental vendors ASAP. Those vendors who have not yet worked with the BPMA will be subject to inspection to insure compliance with our local mandate.

Our products are seasonal, we have a very small quantity of fruit to sell in the months May-July. Would we be allowed to sublet our space for the months when we don't have products or bring in outsourced products from other growers?
With the provision that they meet the vendor selection criteria, we will consider subleases. We will also consider supplemental products from other vendors, providing that these products meet BPMA's criteria and are clearly labeled. Supplemental products from vendors who have not yet worked with the BPMA will be subject to inspection.

How will the market ensure that livestock is actually grown and raised in New England?
This will be part of our inspection process - we are also working on drafting enforceable criteria, which will insure that meat is truly being raised and processed as locally as possible.

We run a prepared food business- how much of a local food to imported food ratio is acceptable?
It depends on several factors and we will work with each vendor to determine what this ratio will be. We will favor locally run businesses doing preparation with local products and hope you will source locally as much as possible. We will work with vendors on finding local sources and freezing/storage solutions.

General Questions

Do you (Boston Public Market Association) work for the state?
We are a 501 c (3) independently run non-profit. We were designated as the developer and operator of the Boston Public Market by the State of Massachusetts in 2012 and we are in partnership with them.