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NYCEDC Announces Roni- Sue's Chocolates, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, and Local Line by Exit9 Moving to New Essex Market


NEW YORK, NY – New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced three new vendors opening shops at the new Essex Market on the Lower East Side. Roni Sue’s Chocolates, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, and Local Line by Exit9 will join 24 current Essex Street vendors at the new location this fall. 

Roni-Sue’s Chocolates is a chocolate and sweet company founded by Rhonda Kave on the Lower East Side in 2007. Roni-Sue’s specializes in handmade treats, including butter crunch toffee, chocolate covered pretzels, caramel popcorn, and chocolate truffles that use fresh cacao sourced from Belize. Ms. Kave attended the Institute of Culinary Education and has over 25 years of experience as a chocolatier. 

Sugar Sweet Sunshine is a New York City-based cupcake and sweets shop also located on the Lower East Side. Founders Peggy Williams and Debra Weiner were former musical theater performers and worked together at another bakery while auditioning for shows. In 2003, they opened Sugar Sweet Sunshine, where they sell an array of cakes, cookies, puddings, cupcakes and pies. 

Local Line by Exit9 is a locally focused retail concept from Exit9 Gift Emporium, an East Village shop founded in 1995. Local Line will feature locally made and designed gifts, food and mementos that will appeal to both New Yorkers and tourists. 

This fall, current Essex Street Market vendors will move to the new Essex Market, which sits across from the existing Delancey Street location. In order to ensure continuity in operations, the current market will stay open until the new location opens to the public. The new facility at 115 Delancey will triple the size of current market offerings, occupying approximately 37,000 square feet between the ground and second floors within Essex Crossing.

The new Essex Market will feature two full-service restaurants, a demonstration kitchen, and extended hours for late night shopping. It will also continue to prioritize providing affordable food products for the Lower East Side’s diverse communities.

“For decades, Essex Street Market has been a neighborhood fixture that celebrates the Lower East Side’s diverse community. We are excited that Roni-Sue’s Chocolates, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, and Local Line by Exit9 will join this vibrant community,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “We are committed to preserving this local treasure by providing affordable rents and supporting the vendors who have been at the market for generations.”

 “I am thrilled to join residents to welcome the latest lineup of local businesses, all proudly born in our Lower Manhattan communities, to the new Essex Market,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “The diversity of these vendors are testament to the spirit of innovation and creativity that makes the Lower East Side great. Thanks to EDC and Essex Crossing for your continued partnership to build a space for small businesses to grow, thrive and serve the community.”
 
"These new vendors will make a great addition to the new Essex Market and to the Lower East Side community, said Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “It's exciting to see the list of vendors continue to grow, and I look forward to visiting the market in the near future!"

"These exciting new additions to the Essex Market family exemplify the unique and diverse merchant community that forms the bedrock of the Lower East Side's local economy.", said Tim Laughlin, President of the Lower East Side Partnership, he continued "An expanded set of vendors and a new state-of-the-art market facility Essex Market will continue to thrive and grow for years to come offering essential access to quality products and a variety of price points."

“Community Board 3 is very excited to welcome our old friends to the new Essex Market. Roni-Sue is an old and favorite friend to welcome back,” said Alysha Lewis-Coleman, Community Board 3, Chair. “We look forward to sweet treats from LES residents founding their new business Sugar Sweet Sunshine. Exit 9 is already a LES favorite for unique and perfect gifts--Local line will make it twice as good. The Essex Street Retail Market is an important and proud legacy of the Lower East Side. We look forward to seeing it revitalized in its new home.”

“It is very exciting and by design that the move to the larger Essex Market space means that these three great local shops are able to expand their enterprises while staying within the L.E.S. community where they have their roots,” said Dominic Berg, Community Board 3’s Essex Crossing Task Force Chairperson. “The continued additions and diversity of vendors coming to Essex Market are a testament to the vigorous discussions and continued collaboration between the vendor community, LES Partnership, Essex Crossing Task Force members, and EDC in ensuring that the Market retains its core values and vitality in the move to Essex Crossing.” 

“As chair of the Essex Street Market Vendor Association, I couldn’t be more pleased with EDC’s choices of tenants for the new Essex Market said,” said Anne Saxelby, Chair of the Essex Street Market Vendors Association. “They all truly represent our community and stay true to the markets mission of keeping small business alive and thriving on the Lower East Side. This latest round represents a homecoming of a beloved former ESM business and two local stalwarts they have brightened the neighborhood with their quirky and homespun energy. We can’t wait to welcome everyone to the new market this fall!”

“This year Roni-Sue's Chocolates will celebrate our 11th anniversary by coming full circle, returning to our roots in the Essex Market--we're so excited to be a part of this unique community of merchants again! I've missed that little village of characters and craftspeople, folks who gave me encouragement and support while I reinvented myself as a professional chocolatier,” said Rhonda Kave, owner of Roni-Sue’s Chocolates. “I can't wait to welcome old friends and long time customers, new LES neighbors and visitors to taste and experience our chocolates and confections as we make them right onsite at the new Essex Market.”

"As owners of Sugar Sweet Sunshine, we have worked to stay true to the same values as the Essex Market; being accessible to all members of this community and owner-operated, face-to-face customer service, said Debra Weiner and Peggy Williams, owners of Sugar Sweet Sunshine. “We are truly honored to be welcomed into the community of the Essex Street Market and excited to share some sugar Sweet sunshine with both new and long-time residents of the LES.”

“Launching Local Line by Exit9 at the New Essex Street Market is an amazing opportunity,” says Charles Branstool, owner of Exit9 and Local Line. “We started adding locally made and designed items at Exit9 several years ago as a way to support the local maker economy. Now, Local Line will be our fun, locally-focused shop with a subtle message about the power of shopping local.  We appreciate the commitment of the New York Economic Development Corp and Essex Crossing to create a place that elevates local shop owners and vendors and connects us to the community.”

Essex Street Market has provided affordable space to eateries, artists, merchants and other vendors since the 1940s, when Mayor LaGuardia committed to providing street merchants and pushcart vendors with dedicated business areas. After a period of decline in the 1970s, NYCEDC began managing the market in 1992. It renovated the facilities and helped catalyze the market’s resurgence. Currently, the market has 24 diverse vendors, including produce, meat, fish, cheese, bread, specialty goods, and prepared food purveyors. 

Located in the heart of the Lower East Side, the Essex Crossing project, of which the new Essex Market is a part, is a 1.9 million-square-foot urban renewal development that includes residential, commercial, and community space. In addition to the new Essex Market, the 24-story 115 Delancey Street building will also house 195 rental apartments, a 14-screen Regal Cinema Theater and privately run bazaar-like marketplace called Market Line. 

Essex Crossing is being developed by Delancey Street Associates, a joint venture between BFC Partners, L+M Development Partners, and Taconic Investment Partners. 

About NYCEDC

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

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Shavone Williams, Christopher Singleton: 212-312-3523, [email protected]