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City Market vendors could soon see financial assistance to help with rent

Posted at 10:23 PM, May 17, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — A bit of relief could is on the way for businesses at City Market in downtown Indianapolis.

On Monday, the Board of Directors finalized and accepted a plan giving merchants rent relief.

The Board is seeking a loan with the city to assist businesses experiencing tough times.

Grecian Garden Restaurant, which has been in business for 19 years is now seeing some of its most challenging days.

"So far, the business has not returned this year," John Mavrikis, owner of Grecian Garden Restaurant said. "We may be going through the rest of the year kind of the same way. People haven't returned yet and that's kind of where we're at."

What used to be a sea of vendors in City Market has slightly transformed into a skeleton section with limited hours to accommodate the demand shift.

"It's scary, but it is what is it," Mavrikis said.

A few steps away from Grecian Garden Restaurant is where Maxine's Chicken & Waffles is located.

"Well, the future, it's a bit hazy," Austin Bonds, General Manager of Maxine's Chicken & Waffles said.

Maxine's is a familiar restaurant in the Circle City, with its newest location at City Market now fighting to stay open.

“It just made more sense to consolidate and go with fewer expenses. As far as employees go, we had to downsize due to COVID. So, we had to come to City Market where it's more like the carry-out, food court style," Bonds said.

With the pandemic and extensive construction downtown near City Market, the business has been quite a struggle for many vendors. At Monday's meeting, the Board of Directors finalized a deferral plan that should help businesses remain afloat.

"At this moment we will do either 10 percent of their gross revenue or 50 percent of what they would normally pay each month. And then we will then work with the merchants on when the rest of it needs to be paid," Keisha Gray, City Market’s Executive Director said.

To add to this, the Board will be seeking additional funding to support this financial relief.

"In order for City Market to remain afloat ourselves, we will be seeking a loan from the City of Indianapolis and pursuing any other grant programs that are available to us as well," Gray said.

The relief is expected to begin with June 2021 invoicing.

"The Board has a challenging job to do. If it comes it comes and if it doesn't, it doesn't. You have to just roll with the punches and go, " Mavrikis said.