Mercado Central is a thriving marketplace of 35 businesses at the corner of Lake Street and Bloomington Avenue in Minneapolis. With the interest to foster business development for Latinos in Minneapolis, founders Juan Linares, Ramon Leon, Sal Miranda, started Mercado Central, which became a national model of community economic development.
The founders and others began a community organizing process at Sagrado Corazón church in South Minneapolis in 1992, believing that their growing number and economic power could lead to advancement in their social status in the community. They wanted to address and overcome barriers to their full participation and success in the general society. They realized that economic progress had to be their first imperative. They realized that Latinos should take ownership and responsibilities related to their own growth and in a disciplined manner. They also needed to build their capacity in order to prove that they are a contribution to their adopted country.
The group requested the assistance of “Interfaith Action” a faith-based social justice organization in order to help them organize and to provide them with leadership training. The first “Latino immigrant caucus” was formed and after the first retreat in 1994, two teams were formed: The Joint Committee on Immigration, and the Economic Development Committee. The economic development committee proposed the formation of an organization that would focus on building economic power and to promote economic opportunities. As a first step they partnered with nonprofit organizations to work on their first project, “Mercado Central”. Mercado Central opened its doors for the first time in the summer of 1997.
- EAT – FOOD
- GET – SERVICES
- BUY – RETAIL
- HAVE FUN – EVENTS
Marketplace of 35 businesses
Have you seen any of the exciting things that are happening lately at Mercado Central?
We are launching our new campaign called “Mi Mercado,” which encompasses our vision to intentionally present in an inclusive and inviting language, new and multiple ways to connect and be part of our community. Mi Mercado also intends to create a sense of belonging and identity for all participants and interest-holders in the experience and success of Mercado. Mi Mercado spans the founders and executive group at Mercado Central, across every business owner in the complex, every worker in every establishment and especially to all kinds of potential customers or visitors at Mercado Central. Whether they are frequent, occasional, everyone belongs within Mercado Central.
With the financial support of the Great Streets Program from the City of Minneapolis, Mercado Central has received the support of many local organization and government entities that understand the value and the key roll that Mercado Central has in the development of an strong Hispanic business community, to ensure the prosperity of this unique market concept and business model that Cooperativa Mercado Central represents. With their support and the improvements made in location, service and atmosphere, Mercado Central aims to become the place to be among the ones that understand the value of our community, the pride to be part of the growth and modernization of this beautiful place that we all call “Mi Mercado”
Everyone has something positive to say about Mercado Central, every person, regardless of their geographical location, economic status or education level, has a story to share about their place, a reason create new experiences, to feel part and to say “Mercado Central is My Mercado.”
When was the last time you visit us?
We would like to invite you and encourage you to visit us and to experience the new Mercado Central, to have a meeting and share coffee with your colleagues, to explore and find unique crafts and artisans, to rely on and do business with our business of professional services. Visit Mi Mercado and have lunch with a friend or bring your family for dinner. Learn about our traditions and enjoy our local entertainment over the weekends. Be part of our community. Have fun at Mercado Central, connect with us, share your pictures and comments of your experience at Mercado Central on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #MiMercado.