MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) – Moline’s Floreciente neighborhood is one full of history and a new tradition is trying to make its mark in the community as Mercado on Fifth prepares for year two.
The market is located on 5th Avenue and 12th Street in Moline. President Maria Ontiveros brought several vendors from the neighborhood together last year to get the Friday night fun started.
Ontiveros’s grandfather has owned the space where the outdoor market takes place for some time.
“My grandfather grew up down there and so he's always tried to give back to that neighborhood,” she said.
Ontiveros, an ESL teacher, also has a passion for helping others.
“A lot of my students don't like their jobs, and they have so many talents that they haven't been able to utilize since they've been here,” Ontiveros said. “I want to give them another opportunity.”
From these desires to help, an idea was born.
“We thought a market would be great,” Ontiveros said. “There are many entrepreneurs in the neighborhood, so we love giving them the space to get their foot in the door.”
Lupe Filio says Mercado on Fifth has made a world of difference for her family.
“I would say that our business grew at least 40 percent more than last year, and I feel like the Mercado helped to grow my business,” said the vendor from last year.
Filio and her husband have called Moline home for four years. She says first and foremost, ‘Mercado on Fifth’ was a way to feel more at home.
“It’s a good way to meet more people in the community,” she said.
But for the current real estate agent, Mercado on Fifth was has also become a way for her and her husband to develop their family business.
“My husband is a professional clown,” she said. “We do a face painting and clown show.”
Filio says the market gives her and others opportunities to share their talents with the community.
“We like to let people know that the Hispanic community is working people,” she said. “We really like to work and we like to get involved with other communities.”
Ontiveros says around 30 vendors have signed up for week one of Mercado on Fifth and a multitude of cultures will be featured.
“We have people from all over the world selling their stuff,” she said. “Mostly from Mexico but also places like Africa - including Morocco and Sierra Leone.”
She encourages people to make it a Friday destination.
“It’s a tourist destination,” Ontiveros said. “It's a place to get your food on your way home, it’s a place to meet your friends.”
Mercado on Fifth opens for the season Friday, June 2. It will run Fridays from 5 p.m. through 9 p.m. and go through the end of October.