In all the excitement of NBA All-Star Weekend in February, several groups and companies set up events to attract the attention of an estimated 125,000 visitors to Utah.

One such event was the All-Star Bazaar, advertised as an expo for nearly 50 black-owned businesses, along with a black art gallery and a pop-up with exhibits on black history and a living wax museum.

The market did not perform as expected by the organizers or sellers. Some of those vendors said they were out thousands of dollars, and organizers said the permitting process shows a lack of access and resources for minority-owned businesses.

Here are five takeaways from what happened. (For the full account, read here.)

1. All-Star Bazaar changed locations at the last minute because of permit paperwork issues.

All-Star Bazaar was planned to be located in Library Square at 400 South and 200 East in Salt Lake City. But, early Friday, Feb. 17 — the first day of the market — vendors were told by email that the event would be moved to the Utah State Fairpark at 1000 W. North Temple.

According to Andrew Wittenberg, communications director for Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, the last-minute location change stemmed from problems involving permit paperwork.

“After missing an important deadline leading up to the event date, city officials met with organizers several times over the course of the 10-day All-Star weekend, hoping to get their event approved at their desired location,” Wittenberg wrote. Email The Tribune. “Unfortunately, several pieces of required information were not provided.”

2. Local vendors lost thousands of dollars due to the change.

Rudy Salvator, chef and owner of Utah’s Macaya Cater — a Haitian food truck — figures participating in the All-Star Market cost him more than $7,000.

Anticipating the large crowds, Salvator said, he washed his food truck and bought more than 600 pounds of meat. She leased another food truck to two other vendors, Yvonne Nsabimana (Ngoma Y’Africa) and Michaëlle Martial (a poet and chef), and several other African American immigrants and black women under the name “Taste the Culture”.

“What are we [were] Hopefully people will all be downtown, looking for things to do, and marketing [the bazaar] It drives people there,” Salvatore said.

Salvator said he made $105 in total sales Friday and the turnout was so low, he didn’t return Saturday or Sunday.

(Trent Nelson | Tribune file photo) Rudy Salvator, owner and chef at Makaya Cater, said he lost about $7,000 participating in the All-Star Market.

3. Email exchanges between organizers and government officials show a timeline following the process.

Thursday, January 26 • Cleopatra Balfour, the organizer of the bazaar, and Ryan Schlegel, the special events permit manager for Salt Lake City, were first contacted to discuss permits for the bazaar.

Monday, February 6 • A Balfour aide approached Schlegel at 1 p.m. to discuss the ADA plan as part of the permitting process. The city’s online portal for ADA information “currently fills out an inactive Google form and is not an official application,” the aide said. Later that night, Schlegel wrote in an email to Balfer and his aide that the city had not received the site map information they expected a week earlier — and could not issue a final permit without “all approvals.”

Wednesday, February 8 • Schlegel sends a second email to Balfour and his aide, in which he writes: “We need proof that all listed requirements have been met by Monday 02/13/2023 no later than 05:00 p.m. Failure to obtain completed items at this time may jeopardize obtaining final approval. ” Schlegel also provided a link to access the city’s online permit portal.

Wednesday, February 15 • A day before vendors were expected to begin, Balfour sent a mass email to officials, saying that the All-Star Bazaar would be a “spontaneous event” that was “exempt from the special program that permits approval.”

Thursday, February 16 • In several emails to Balfour’s group, Salt Lake City senior attorney Kim Chytrus said the market is “not a spontaneous event” and that structures and equipment cannot be installed without a special program permit — and that rules can be violated. Misdemeanor In the afternoon, Chytraus asked the group to remove concrete blocks from the library plaza.

Read here for the full timeline, based on public records obtained by The Tribune.

4. Balfour said the permit issues point to minority communities’ lack of access to city assets and resources.

Especially those who are not at “multi-million dollar companies” but volunteer organizations like her group, she said. For larger companies, she said, it’s easier to pivot and fix problems that pop up.

“There’s no built-in equity of access to these city properties,” she said.

Balfour said what happened to the market permit was not confined to any one branch or department.

“There were so many different departments within the city that created a systemic problem that blocked access. [the] Minority communities should really step up at a time,” she said.

(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) Cleopatra Balfer, who organized the All-Star Bazaar, said Salt Lake City government is not doing enough to help minority organizations navigate the complicated permitting process.

5. Efforts are being made to help businesses recover their losses.

The Utah Black Chamber of Commerce is hosting a series of retail experiences at Zions Bank Eagle Emporium in Salt Lake City. Chamber President Cindy Shorter said the first weekend was a success.

“For the Chamber, we saw a need in the community and activated an opportunity with the help of Chamber member Zions Bank,” she said in an email.

Although the permitting process can be time-consuming, especially for minority businesses, Wittenberg said the city’s Economic Development Board and Mendenhall’s office are also interested in working with affected vendors and businesses — whether through future events or by giving them tools to understand. “What they know is that the event is authentic and that it has been approved.”

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