Patience Bannerman, owner of the Mawuhi African Market, was dealt a severe blow in October. Since 2007, Patience and her family have run the community market in the center of Burlington, Vt.’s Old North End, providing valuable goods and services to the African Diaspora of Vermont, New England, and the neighborhood. A community hub, woven into the fabric of the Old North End, the Mawuhi African Market is a staple in Burlington. When new owners purchased the building in the fall, they assured Ms. Bannerman that the lease that she has had for 13 years would be extended. That good faith was destroyed in early October when Ms. Bannerman was given notice to leave her property by the end of November. The new property owners are demanding that this prosperous BIPOC owned business vacate during their busiest time, the holidays and in the middle of the COVID pandemic.
The African Diaspora from across Vermont and the region come to the Mawuhi African Market to find food they can not find anywhere else: spices, shrimp and vegetables that taste like home. December is the busiest month for Ms. Bannerman, as customers come for the holiday gifts and to use MoneyGram. The Mawuhi African Market is the only location in the neighborhood that has MoneyGram, which people from across the world use to send money home to their families.
All funds raised will go toward finding a new location, moving and set-up costs, as well as compensation for lost businesses during months of closing as well as to pay for what will certainly be an increase in rent.
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