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Construction surrounding Jean-Talon Market impacting bottom line, say kiosk owners

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WATCH: Vendors at the Jean-Talon Market in Montreal's Little Italy neighbourhood say they have fallen on hard times. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports – Aug 19, 2019

The Jean-Talon Market is overflowing with all kinds of fresh produce, but what you won’t find a lot of lately is people, some kiosk owners say.

“Business is very, very bad,” says Anna De Luca, who has been selling fruits and vegetables at the Jean-Talon Market for over four decades.

No one comes to the market because they can’t easily access the famous Montreal institution with all the construction surrounding the area, she says.

“Every street is closed.”

And she’s not alone.

Tomato farmer Robert Beauregard says his long-time clients are not coming to his kiosk because they have a hard time navigating the clogged, detour-ridden streets.

It took one client two hours to get to the market from her nearby home, Beauregard said.

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“She told me she is not coming back, it’s not worth it,” he said.

With tomato season starting, Beauregard says he only has a month and a half to sell his harvest.

The small window is already hard enough, and the lack of foot traffic is affecting his bottom line.

READ MORE: ‘Very, very, very bad’ — Jean-Talon Market merchants say construction killed summer season

A number of long-standing, family-run kiosks in the market have been seen closing up shop.

Passed down through generations, young people are not picking up the family business due to the lack of profits.

“A lot of people are gone; it’s hard for them,” De Luca said.

“Some people do not have people to take over, they are fed up, the younger generation can’t make money.”

READ MORE: New pedestrian plaza divides merchants at Jean-Talon Market

Merchants have reached out to the borough for help but said they have done little to lend a hand.

City officials from Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie were not available for comment but pointed to the recent installing of a pedestrian plaza.

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City officials say the new outdoor area is an inviting place and will entice shoppers.

After four years of construction, the plaza was inaugurated in July but vendors say they have yet to see a positive impact.

But it’s not over yet, Beauregard says.

“For now, I still have a lot of passion for my work,” he says. “I’m not going anywhere.”