The SoWa Versus South End Open Market Separation, Explained

Plus, photos from opening day for both markets, so you can see the differences for yourself.

South End Open Market Ink Block Opening Day 2016 1

The South End Open Market has moved to Ink Block. / Photo by Sarah Fisher (Click to see more photos.)

Despite gray skies and the occasional drizzle, crowds flocked to the South End on Sunday for the first day of both the South End Open Market and the SoWa Open Market. Babies, puppies, and yuppies flooded the scene, meandering from vendor to vendor until the 4 p.m. close.

In case you missed it, the artisanal market formerly known as SoWa is now two separate markets. After a falling out between New England Open Markets LLC owner Chris Masci—the organizer of the beloved market—and Mario Nicosia of GTI Properties Inc.—who owns the physical space known as SoWa (“south of Washington Street”), Masci has moved his operation over to Ink Block, partnering with National Development. GTI launched its own market with the trademarked name “SoWa Open Market.”

To summarize, let’s clarify the new naming conventions: The organizers of the market you knew and loved have moved their operation to Ink Block—call it the “South End Open Market.” The property owners have launched their own market at the location you knew and loved—call it the “SoWa Open Market.”

Both launched Sunday, May 1. Both have elements that longtime fans will recognize from before. And both have things that are new.

SoWa Open Market Opening Day 2016

The new SoWa Open Market is now operated by the property owners, GTI. / Photo by Sarah Fisher (Click to see more photos.)

Significant overlap between the two markets include the presence of businesses such as Roxy’s, Bon Me, Minus the Moo, and 2 Dogs Treats. Relatively newer vendors like Project Runway’s Kelly Dempsey and Shark Tank contestants LovePop Cards set up shop at SoWa, while the South End Open Market retained longtime favorites like Zooguu’s plush animal toys and Linden Leaf Designs’ prints.

The divide between the old SoWa space and the new South End Open Market Space didn’t feel very separate, as visitors seemed to amble from market to market throughout the day. On the three-minute walk between the two markets, visitors packed the sidewalks.

Some attendees seemed confused about the market’s change and what it meant for each market. A concierge at one of the Ink Block buildings mentioned that several residents were annoyed with the increased traffic and assumed the market was a one-time thing.

However, if you missed either market this weekend, don’t fret—they’ll both be open again every Sunday through October, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Check out photos from both markets’ opening days:


Opening Day at the South End Open Market
New location, same market.


Opening Day at the SoWa Open Market
Same location, new market.