A group of local entrepreneurs have fulfilled the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts’ hope of incorporating a food court into the makeup of its property, by officially opening a pop-up park for mobile food vendors and artisans yesterday.
Dundas Manager Delores Adderley said the pop-up park came right in time for the theater, which has been hoping for a food court option for the property.
“They finally came. [We] had sent for them for a very long time, so, we’re more than happy,” said Adderley.
“Our dream for the theater was to have a food court on the ground. When they had the opportunity to leave where they were to come here, it was just the right time.”
Brandon Kemp, one of the organizers of Tin Ferl, which operates the pop-up park, said the park was designed to give a low-cost, permanent space to food trucks and vendors who often wait for pop-up events or festivals to showcase their products.
“This pop-up park is the realization of a dream to create something that is going to help the Tin Ferl community, the pop-up community and that would give the pop-up community a stable location to sell their products, so that they wouldn’t just be waiting for the next pop-up event or the next festival, but they’d have somewhere to go Monday to Friday, to Saturday even,” said Kemp.
Another organizer, Kendrick Delaney, who is also the owner of The New Duff, said the group hopes the park will create a more polished look for food truck vendors, giving them a space where Bahamians can focus on the food of local chefs and entrepreneurs.
He said each vendor at the park has been given the task of having something on their menu for $5.
“We’re trying to keep everything around that price, so that it’s an affordable lunch option, nothing too pricey,” Delaney said.
A third organizer, Alicia “Puppy” Robinson, said during the official launch that there are more than 200 different pop-up vendors across the island and “we just wanted to give them a space they can call their own.”
And while some vendors are starting out at the pop-up park with tents, Robinson said it is the hope of the group to have only food carts and food trucks on the site as part of the aesthetic.
Kemp, who is also the proprietor of the Nassau Night Market, said Tin Ferl is looking at adding a community booth where artisans who want to sell their products, but do not have the time to be at the Dundas, can still have a presence.
“Through our community booth, artisans will bring their products to us and we’ll sell them on their behalf,” he said.
Donovan Brown, co-owner of Black Pearl, which sells Bubble Tea, said the space is beneficial for entrepreneurs who do not want to be burdened with a physical building.
“We were here from the soft launch last week and it was definitely beneficial, not only for us, but also local Bahamian entrepreneurs, to have a permanent location throughout the week that doesn’t burden you with the overhead of a traditional brick-and-mortar location,” Brown said.
“In the first week, it was definitely encouraging and we’re excited for the future weeks and months to come. We can’t wait for it to become a food truck park where everyone has their trucks, so you can actually get that full-on experience.”
Delaney said he hopes the Tin Ferl group uses its numbers to lobby for things like discounted health insurance for those full-time vendors who cannot afford it on their own.
“Having a little bit of traction with this park now, I think we’ll also be able to have a little bit more visibility, to let people see that we are a community that is trying to provide jobs, create opportunities and really put Bahamian products and services at the forefront,” he said.