CLEVELAND — As concerns mount over the present and future of the West Side Market, the city of Cleveland announced Friday that it is looking for a consultant to “help reshape the West Side Market customer experience,” as well as provide a way for the public to give feedback.
According to the city, the consultant would evaluate existing practices and develop a strategic action plan to “drive change at the market.”
The West Side Market draws more than a million visitors each year, city officials said.
The city said the consultant would be tasked with making recommendations in the following areas:
- Administrative: Create a process and establish a tool to evaluate vendor performance and vendor selection. Develop a tool to receive customer feedback and evaluate customer satisfaction.
- Entrepreneurial growth and recruitment: Provide recommendations on vendor recruitment. Develop recommendations to diversify products and services. Analyze the role of the Market as a business incubator and identify specific services required to support the success of vendors. Make recommendations for creative revenue streams that encourage repeat customer visits.
- Facilities management and capital planning: Review West Side Market Capital Plan to focus on customer access to products, services and events. Review and assess the day to day maintenance practices of the facilities and provide recommendations on ways to increase efficiency, streamline project coordination and enhance communication with vendors and outside departments.
- Encourage community engagement, outreach and bridge building: Review and assess the WSM 2019 Community Survey and 2019 Marketing Plan to create tools that measure customer satisfaction going forward as the vendor recommendations are implemented. Conceptualize a plan on how the WSM can enhance its strategic relationships while adhering to its core mission. Engage in collaborative partnerships with community partners.
“We are in search of a consultant that can think outside of the box to enhance the Market’s competitive edge,” said chief operating officer Darnell Brown. “As the historic institution continues to adapt to the evolving demands of 21st Century customers, the city of Cleveland seeks a consultant who can evaluate and recommend ways to enhance overall customer experience, vendor mix, and quality of products and services. We also want to create a process for customers to be able to provide feedback.”
Don Whitaker, West Side Market Tenant Association President, said he doesn't think the market needs a consultant. He said it needs new management as the market sits at 30 percent vacancy.
"It just comes down to simple management of the building and that’s all we want is to be managed correctly," Whitaker said. "When is enough is enough? I say enough is enough right now."