Congratulations to our own Ivy Hagedorn and Lori Haun, for winning the Outstanding Economic Impact Project award at this year’s Missouri Main Street Connection Conference in St. Louis!

See below for press release details.

Image of Ivy Hagedorn and Lori Haun holding a Missouri Main Street Connection award

“Downtown Joplin’s Empire Market has quickly become a destination for visitors to purchase products and produce from local vendors and farmers. Through their visits to other Main Street communities and cities across the country, Lori Haun and Ivy Hagedorn realized a need in Joplin for a market for local artists, farmers, and vendors. From these travels the idea for The Empire Market was born and when Downtown Joplin Alliance acquired the Empire building in downtown Joplin, a facility was found to make the idea come to life.

In April 2018, The Empire Market opened and in its first month of operation it brought in over 3,000 visitors with 22 vendors seeing over $20,000 in total gross revenue. By the end of the first summer, the market accounted for 378 volunteer hours, $135,594 in market sales, and an estimated 17,500 visitors. The market is held every Saturday from 10:00am through 3:00pm.

The market has not only impacted downtown Joplin, but also the farmers and other vendors who have a place to sell their products to a wide audience. Over 200 acres of farmland are utilized every week in the production of the food that is sold at the market each weekend. Additionally, one vendor who baked bread out of his small kitchen was able to buy two industrial size ovens and contract as a vendor to local restaurants as a result of selling his bread at the market.

Downtown Joplin is continually working to improve the market and in 2019 introduced the acceptance of EBT and SNAP for low-income visitors wishing to purchase fresh, local produce. A Token/Debit program was also instituted where visitors can by tokens to be used at each vendor with their debit card. This will help cut down on the cost to vendors for their use of third-party credit card acceptance programs and allow even more money from the market to remain local.

Thanks to the idea that Lori and Ivy had, The Empire Market has become a draw for downtown Joplin bringing in numerous visitors and encouraging them to shop local.”