Isaac Cronin, who founded Beehive with Julia Fry, says the goal is to be a regional, destination market, providing all sorts of locally sourced and made products, in addition to some more typical farmers’ market stalls.
Cronin and Fry conceived the idea after being frustrated in an attempt to create pop-up stores for green products in empty storefronts on Shattuck. City officials had been encouraging, according to Cronin, but landlords were not interested. Councilmember Darryl Moore, however, approached the pair in January to see if they were interested in doing something similar in his West Berkeley district. The site at the Adult School was identified and Beehive is paying a market rate for the rental. Fry and Cronin secured seed funding from Give Something Back, the Oakland office supplies company that donates all profits to charitable causes.
“We’re hoping to become a real event for Berkeley,” says Cronin, who has lived in Berkeley since the days of the Free Speech Movement. “If it works, we’ll keep it going year round.”
Cronin says they already have 50 vendors for the market, with room for 68. There will be seven or eight farmers, an “urban street food” organic food court, and numerous stalls selling green products from around the Bay Area. Cronin cites Ecoforms, a Santa Rosa-based maker of pots out of rice hulls, as the kind of vendor that can be hard to find.
Cronin and Fry are booking a variety of bands to provide music at Beehive Market. The opening band on June 12 is Oakland-based
Ja Electric Jahlectrik, which Cronin describes as “emo reggae”. Tables at the market will be made from wooden pallets, chairs will be milk cartons and cushions will be made from recycled trade show banners, stuffed with shredded, recycled plastic bottles.
Beehive Market will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.