The Idea behind WPM
The vision to establish the Worcester Public Market first evolved in 2014 when Canal District entrepreneur and WPM founder, Allen Fletcher, purchased a plot of land and began assessing community need for the new market. The once vacant dirt lot had largely served as a parking lot for Crompton Place, a former manufacturing building once known as the Crompton Loom Works. The site now boasts a mix of service-based businesses, offices and retail shops that sell locally-made goods. There’s a bay-windowed bakery and coffee shop, gift and home décor shops, a book shop and an event space.
Mr. Fletcher, past president of the Canal District Alliance and local resident, had a successful track record for community-development in Worcester. After purchasing the vacant land, he began the planning process in 2015 by convening experts in marketplace development. This feasibility plan was later updated with market research obtained from an August 2017 study. Later in 2017, steps were taken to establish the Worcester Public Market as an official 501c3 organization with the sole purpose of creating a public market in Worcester.
Historically, the Canal District has always been a catalyst for entrepreneurism and economic development in the city. The Blackstone Canal was first conceived in the 19th century as a way to connect Worcester and the Blackstone Valley towns to the sea at Narragansett Bay. Over the course of its 20-year history, the canal helped to spur commerce and development within the city and throughout the Valley, which became known as the Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. Worcester became a magnet for innovation and home to industrialists like Ichabod Washburn.
In 2000, an array of Worcester leaders embarked on a campaign for progressive urban design in the city, contributing to the preservation and renovation of historic Union Station at the head of the district. The station is now a transportation hub and home to increasing retail activity. The Canal District Alliance was founded in 2010 as an advocacy group for local economic revitalization, and the area has seen substantial rebirth as a destination shopping and entertainment district. Construction of the Worcester Public Market is the next step in the strategic expansion of The Canal District and continued economic empowerment of local residents from throughout central Massachusetts. The successful completion of this project will create a showcase for Worcester’s unique character and culture, support job creation, create a marketplace which will increase access to fresh and affordable food, and establish a dynamic space where community members can gather regularly.
“ The market will bring locally-grown healthy food to the residents of the City of Worcester and surrounding communities.”
— allen fletcher, FOUNDER
Mission of WPM
The Worcester Public Market endeavors to:
1. Encourage local farms, restaurants, and food-related businesses and entrepreneurs to collaborate to create an accessible, cost effective and innovative venue that assists local farms, food vendors and producers
2. Support the viability of local farms and the sustainable provision of locally-sourced food products consistent with community needs
3. Create a center of innovation for the development of new food-related businesses and organizations
4. Facilitate the availability of locally-grown healthy food to the residents of the City of Worcester and surrounding communities
5. Foster economic development and community revitalization to meet the needs of the greater Worcester community
6. Create a space for cultural expression and exchange that benefits the diverse ethnic communities of the greater Worcester area
The Worcester Public Market (WPM) is recruiting great local businesses that grow, raise, catch, or produce products in Massachusetts and New England. If you are interested in opportunities at the Worcester Public Market, please fill out our online application.