Somerville’s long-anticipated Bow Market opened its doors this May, bringing a treasure trove of indie-owned businesses to Union Square. After the remaining few vendors set up shop in the coming weeks and months, the 13,743-square-foot market will boast 30 purveyors including apparel artisans, confection connoisseurs and emerging artists and designers—19 of which will debut their first brick-and-mortar locations.
Housed in a 1920s-era masonry block building and designed by Boyes-Watson Architects, Bow Market’s horseshoe of shops and eateries hugs a pedestrian courtyard filled with lush trees, climbing vines and a seating area crafted with granite recovered from the Longfellow Bridge. And while the space’s decor has local ties, the layout of the market is internationally inspired. “Each of us partners was inspired by spaces we’ve been to abroad,” says partner Zachary Baum. “The piazzas in Italy, the souks in Marrakesh, markets in Greece—they all provide affordable ways for small-scale businesses to sell their goods and beautiful spaces for the public to enjoy.”
Bow Market’s first level houses several food vendors and is anchored by Remnant Brewing’s taproom and expansive outdoor patio. Keeping with the industrial-chic aesthetic of the market, a galvanized steel walkway leads to the second level, which mostly consists of storefronts for artists and retailers as well as the Comedy Studio, a community-oriented club that will book up-and-coming and nationally renowned talent.
In accordance with Bow Market’s mission to provide opportunities for all artists, MassDevelopment will supply an arts agenda—including the creation of five murals and a rotating residency program, which will allow locals to lead workshops, arrange gallery exhibitions and create installations.
That possibility extends across all aspects of Bow Market. Baum says: “Our business owners represent groups of people that don’t often get the opportunity to start their own businesses.”
Be sure to check out these standout spots at Bow Market below
> Maca founder Tamy Chung grew up making all sorts of cookies before stumbling on the très chic French macaron. Her small-batch macaronerie offers classic and limited-edition flavors, such as Fruity Pebbles and blueberry-basil cheesecake, as well as custom hand-piped varietals of the almond-based confections featuring designs ranging from unicorns to Pokémon.
> What began as a program by the Somerville Arts Council to give visibility to immigrant food entrepreneurs is now Nibble Kitchen, a collective of international cooks from local immigrant communities bringing their expertise to a rotating restaurant. Along with global eats, the space will also host cooking classes and demo dinner parties.
> Sisters Casey and Vanessa White delve into their grandfather’s recipe box at their pierogi shop Jaju. The siblings serve traditional and fusion versions of the Polish dumplings—ranging from jalapeño-cheddar to butternut squash, apple and sage—available fresh to immediately munch or frozen for later use.
> Peruse Adelante’s luxe leather footwear at the company’s first guide shop. These shoe gurus measure you on-site before sending your size to a Guatemalan craftsman, who will ship your custom kicks within 10 business days. With a mission to pay their artisans fair wages, Adelante’s goods are a treat-yo’self purchase you can feel good about.
> Music mecca Vinyl Index is not your father’s dusty record collection. With a cleaning service, albums featuring keepsake inscriptions and a knowledgeable staff helmed by DJ and producer George “7L”Andrinopoluous, this shop’s rotating stock of new and used albums will please the ears of every type of music fan.
> Similar to Bow Market’s layout, the vintage accessories and apparel at We Thieves have a global sensibility. After growing up overseas—and working at SoWa Vintage Market—owner Sandra Rossi showcases curated finds from emerging designers with a bohemian, modern-punk vibe at her new digs.