Thai Town Marketplace

is an innovative approach to community revitalization which facilitates economic empowerment and improvement of public spaces. It is a self-sustaining business incubator in a public market setting that is a living, dynamic entity, which evolves over time to maintain economic viability.

The Thai Town Marketplace is a public market that provides entrepreneurs with small business opportunitiess, creates permanent jobs, and helps low-income individuals become economically self-sufficient.  It provides an ideal low-cost entry point for starting a business. The public market will also improve access to affordable, nutritious and culturally-appropriate foods.  The East Hollywood area is culturally and ethnically diverse, with large Latino, Armenian and Thai communities.  We consider this tapestry of cultures an asset.  The multi-cultural aspect of the market will create an authentic marketplace based on ethnic foods, artisanship and traditional products reflective of the diverse cultures of the area

Community Benefits

  • Bolsters cultural tourism in Thai town.
  • Creates 39 – 40 entrepreneurship, management and service jobs.
  • Supports 18 – 19 food retail and artisan small businesses.
  • Promotes healthy eating, lifestyles, and safe public spaces for socializing.
  • Hosts an outdoor farmer’s market.
The East Hollywood Public Market Project (Thai Town Marketplace and East Hollywood Certified Farmers’ Market) is a community economic development tool that reinvests in a low-income neighborhood to promote economic independence, upward social mobility, safe social settings, access to healthy foods and vibrant communities.  East Hollywood has a disproportionately large number of individuals that lack job skills and/or are chronically under-employed.  According to US Census 2000, 35% of residents in East Hollywood live below the poverty line, compared to the state average of 14%.  The unemployment rate in East Hollywood of 13% is almost double the state average of 7% and national average of over 6%.  This creates a precarious situation for families and children living on the margins facing job insecurity, low educational attainment and health risks.  According to a food assessment of the Hollywood area conducted in 2002-03 by the LA Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness, only 17% of all the participants surveyed eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day, and 38% report eating fruits and vegetables at a rate of less than once per day.  Emergency food providers in the area report incidences of diet related diseases among the populations they serve.  Furthermore, according to an ongoing cultural tourism survey conducted by Thai CDC of residents and visitors of Thai Town, 78% consider a public market to be important or very important and 69% believe such a market should be located within a block of the Metro Subway Station.
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A disproportionately large number of individuals in the East Hollywood area lack job skills and are chronically underemployed.  Thai CDC will use its expertise in small business formation, development and management to start up a social enterprise that will create jobs and business opportunities for low-incomes individuals.  According to US Census 2000, 35% of residents in East Hollywood live below the poverty line, compared to the state average of 14%.  The unemployment rate in East Hollywood is a staggering 16% (HealthyCity.org; Bureau of Labor Statistics).  More than double of the residents of East Hollywood (13%) receive public assistance than the state average of 5% and national average of 3%. This creates a precarious situation for families and children living on the margins facing job insecurity, health risks, and low educational attainment.

incubator ~ a building, a section of a building, or group of buildings where for-profit enterprises rent space and the facility provides management consutling services for tenants.

Thai Town small businesses are primarily owned by:

  • Thais
  • Armenians
  • Latinos
70% of all businesses make less than $500k in annual sales.

Organizing Principles

  • Strategically located above the metro station at the intersection of two major transportation corridors, the Marketplace is situated at the base of an MTA mixed-use development. A nexus of multimodal transportation, this location lends itself naturally to its consequential organization. Set back from the street, Thai town Marketplace represents something of an “urban oasis” to commuters and vistors. A structured open canopy, the iconic exterior “Sala” court typology organizes pedestrian scale elements in a carefully choreographed sequential experience.[…]
  • Augmenting the Apsonsi Monument,  its adjacency to the marketplace enriches the gateway’s symbolism with physical space and form, specific to public gathering. The Community Information Center provides historical, cultural and current events information, preparing the pedestrians embarking from this gateway on their journey into Thai Town. Conveniently located along the pedestrian sequence, retail kiosks help sequester the Sala’s seating courts, flanking them and creating vistas that guide pedestrians into the Market’s interior food venues.[…]
  • Marketplace’s cultural tourism syngergy with Thai town is due in part to the growing Preserve America movement. Activating the streetscape with alfresco dining and space to host cultural events, Thai Town Marketplace creates a safe, enjoyable environment for families, and introduces Thai Town as a fun experience for tourists in Los Angeles. […]
Many opportunities are available for individuals interested in becoming a shop owner or for those interested in community based commercial development. Inquire with Bo Sivanunsakul at bo@thaicdc or call 323 468-2555 to discover how you can become involved with the Thai Town Market Place.
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