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Outdoor International Food Market Coming To City Heights

Photo caption: A view of University Avenue looking east from Fairmount Avenue in City Heights.

Photo by Katie Schoolov

A view of University Avenue looking east from Fairmount Avenue in City Heights.

A group of community organizations is turning a lot at El Cajon Boulevard and 44th Street into a future hub for local food vendors.

At the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and 44th Street, economic development tastes like Salvadorean pupusas, Jamaican jerk chicken and Baja hot dogs. Or it will soon.

The now-empty space is the future site of a weekly international food market that is expected to include many first-time food vendors.

A group of community organizations, known as the City Heights Economic Development Collaboration, is transforming the barren corner into an economic opportunity for aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs. Maritza Maksimow, economic development manager for the nonprofit City Heights Community Development Corp., said the collaboration is helping businesswomen and men launch their operations at the market.

"So we have already established vendors and then folks that are just starting out," Maksimow said.

The Wednesday market will feature at least 10 vendors representing the diverse cultures in the community, including Jamaican, Mexican, Salvadorean, Cambodian and Japanese cuisines, she added.

The public can have a hand in the transformation during a place-making event on Saturday.

The night market, which will also include craft vendors, is a pilot-program running from October through December. Maksimow said the collaboration will then evaluate the market's future based in part on consumer and vendor surveys.

The City Heights Economic Development Collaboration includes the City Heights CDC, El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association, the City Heights Business Association, the Karen Organization of San Diego, the International Rescue Committee, Media Arts Center of San Diego and Horn of Africa.

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