Sophie Bolich

North Avenue Market Founder Reflects on First Year

Four-day anniversary celebration set for early September.

By - Aug 29th, 2023 05:38 pm
North Avenue Market, 5900 W. North Ave., photo taken Sept. 6, 2022 by Sophie Bolich.

North Avenue Market, 5900 W. North Ave., photo taken Sept. 6, 2022 by Sophie Bolich.

For many Milwaukeeans, Sept. 7 is a day just like any other. That includes Chris Harris Morse — despite the fact that the date marks the first anniversary of North Avenue Market, which he founded in 2022.

Although grateful for the milestone, Harris Morse said he is hesitant to hyper-focus on just one day, preferring to take each one as it comes. “There are 364 other days that are just as important,” he said.

And those 364 days have not gone to waste. Since its opening last September, North Avenue Market, 5900 W. North Ave., has established itself as a community hub that strives to be welcoming and accessible to all.

That means hosting inclusive events such as sapphic friending nights and drag brunches, featuring a diverse lineup of vendors and recognizing oft-overlooked details such as ensuring the lower level’s artificial grass is wheelchair-friendly.

After one year, the results speak for themselves. In 2022, after just a few months in operation, the market was awarded the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Governor’s Award for Diverse Business Champion.

“I think the community has responded very well in how they value the market, and so we see a diverse crowd,” Harris Morse said. “Our neighborhoods have really enjoyed it I think.”

Throughout the past year, the founder has continually tweaked and updated the market in an attempt to better meet the needs of the community. But his core mission remains the same.

“The why is still about connecting people and creating a space where we aren’t trying to change who people are, we’re trying to embrace them as they are and understand that we have so much more in common than we have that separates us,” he said. “And it’s those things that are in common that add value and make Milwaukee such an amazing city.”

Anniversary Celebration

Harris Morse may not be celebrating the anniversary, but the food hall certainly is. A four-day anniversary bash will include live music, food and drink specials, back-to-school activities and more.

The event will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 7, featuring a performance by musician Shawn Brost from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Bittercube Bar will be open from 4 p.m. to close, which is 10 p.m. Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

The following day, Bittercube will run with the same happy hour schedule while guests enjoy a performance from jazz group Christopher’s Project from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

On Saturday, Sept. 9, HYFIN will start the day’s festivities with a youth event, set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meanwhile, Latoya Friend of Universal Teas will host a live podcast on-site from noon until 4 p.m. From 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., HYFIN’s DJ Anthony Foster will play a set. Happy hour runs from 4 p.m. to close.

On Sunday, Sept. 10, North Avenue Market will close out the festivities with a drag brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The schedule of events is available to view online.

North Avenue Market’s normal hours of operation are Tuesday through Thursday from 11 .m. to 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Current vendors at the food hall include 4 Corners Cafe, Bittercube, Mosler’s Vault, Plant Joy and Pupuseria Los Angeles.

Harris Morse continues to seek community input for the market. Suggestions can be submitted via the North Avenue Market website, Facebook, Instagram or email.

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