The veil is beginning to lift on the monthslong redevelopment of Hollins Market, one of Baltimore city’s oldest, continuously operating public markets.

Hollins Market has been closed since last May and Baltimore Public Markets is starting to give people a sneak peak of what’s to come —hopefully this spring — at what they say will be a new and improved experience.

The $2.1 million redevelopment of the market in Southwest Baltimore promises to bring extended hours, renovated stalls and new vendors, including a bakery, a market cafe for casual to-go items and a grocer, called the Market at Hollins.

Saturday the market is hosting an open house, including tours, from noon . to 3 p.m.

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“We are excited to welcome them back and to present them with a new vibrant experience in Hollins Market,” said Ezra Rosenberg, the market’s general manager.

The signs of the two returning vendors at Hollins Market, Lauman’s Quality Meats and Mike’s Breakfast and Lunch, are seen amidst ongoing renovations on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024 in Baltimore. (Wesley Lapointe/for the Baltimore Banner)

Rosenberg said that when the city held outreach session with community associations, residents said they wanted fresh foods and a grocery vendor at the market. Before the renovations began, he said, the market was less than half filled with vendors and had started to lose its appeal to many Two vendors, Mike’s Breakfast and Lunch and Lauman’s Quality Meats, are returning after the redevelopment is complete and will be joined by seven new merchants, some of whom are still signing contracts. Vendors were vetted with community input.

There are also several new initiatives accompanying the physical updates. A curated pop-up stall that will feature rotating businesses owned by people from diverse backgrounds will be part of the new footprint, thanks to a grant from the West Baltimore Renaissance Foundation. The stall comes with equipment for a future food merchant, including a walk-in refrigerator, a six-burner gas grill, double fryer, and a large griddle stovetop.

“The idea is to provide everything so all they have to do is bring in their food,” said Paul Ruppert, president and CEO of the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation.

A second three-year, $180,000 grant from the West Baltimore Renaissance Foundation for a healthy food pilot program will make certain market items SNAP and EBT eligible. The market will also be a pickup location for the Civics Works Community Supported Agriculture program, which delivers locally farmed produce for a fee to members. There’s also a request for an Amazon drop box.

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Bif Browning, a resident of Union Square and president of the neighborhood association, thinks the redevelopment process has been inclusive so far. The market has a strong identity in the neighborhood and seems to attract newcomers to the area, he said.

“It’s about as much an institution as the University of Maryland,” he added.

The sign for Hollins Poultry sits in the corner of the newly renovated Hollins Market on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024, in Baltimore. (Wesley Lapointe/for the Baltimore Banner)

Browning hopes the redevelopment welcomes more variety of stalls because the previous setup included businesses that sold the same products and created unnecessary competition between vendors. As a Union Square resident of over 15 years, Browning said the area has diversified and the market should be representative of its different regions, cultures and religions. He also envisions the surrounding area complementing the redevelopment to truly create a “neighborhood-centric” market. There are several new businesses adjacent to the market, including Rooted Rotisserie with French-inspired cuisine, operated by chef Joseph Burton and Amanda Ngangana.

Husband-and-wife team Burton and Ngangana look forward to Hollins Market keeping its layout, especially with how it displays produce, which they say could inspire dishes at their restaurant. They hope the renovated market will attract more people to the area who will also visit neighboring businesses.

“We’d love the market to generate more foot traffic,” Burton said.

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Recently, neighbors could be seen peeking into the market in anticipation of its opening. The recent redevelopment process is the second phase of a plan that has been ongoing for at least six years, according to Ruppert. The first phase was the revamp of the exterior, which has a chic, black and white color scheme.

“I think what we’re really trying to do is preserve the history of Hollins Market, which is this rich history, but also modernize it, clean it up, make everything fresh, bring in some new merchants but recognize that it’s been a part of this community for over 150 years, and we want to continue that,” Ruppert said.

Jasmine Vaughn-Hall is a neighborhood and community reporter at the Baltimore Banner, covering the people, challenges, and solutions within West Baltimore. Have a tip about something happening in your community? Taco recommendations? Call or text Jasmine at 443-608-8983. 

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