Seattle Public Market

by Margaret Chang

Location: everywhere

The Public Market of Seattle is not located on 3rd Avenue and Pike Place but on the streets of Seattle. The main purpose of streets is to carry automotive traffic throughout the city; however, people have found an alternative use for the streets. Everyday, people use public streets as an informal market place for goods and services. Used cars and “apartment for rent” signs with hand lettering can be found parked on major city streets. The generic appearance of the “for rent/sale” signs and the hand lettering indicates that the people using the streets to market goods are not professional retailers. Despite this fact, these people have capitalized on the opportunity to use major public city streets as “storefronts”. The street is rent free, has high visibility, and can be utilized that any time of day. However, buyers may find the use of the street as a “storefront” difficult to navigate. Since the street is not a defined market place, goods and signage are not limited to one location nor are sellers obligated to place their goods in a single place for a designated period of time. Used cars for sale can wander up and down the street; for rent signs can appear and disappear overnight.

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