Flatbush Caton Market, which has been part of the Flatbush's cultural fabric for more than 20 years, has moved house and undergone a rebrand.
On Tuesday, the market officially opened as Flatbush Central Caribbean Market at 2123 Caton Ave., complete with upgrades and increased space. The opening and rebranding was announced by the City’s Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) Department of Housing and Development, Housing Development Corporation, BRP Companies and Urbane.
The market is now located on the ground floor of Caton Flats, on the corner of Caton and Flatbush Aves, a 14-story, mixed-use development with 255 units of 100% affordable housing and over 20,000 square feet of community space, according to a press release from the EDC.
The space provided for Flatbush Central includes upgraded amenities and expanded space for food vendors — including a Caribbean-themed food hall, shared commercial kitchen, bar, and lounge, the agency said. It will also include new programming to engage entrepreneurs and the broader community “in building connections and celebrating the cultures of Flatbush and Central Brooklyn.”
The market features a variety of small businesses that operate year-round, and is a place where Flatbush’s Caribbean culture and diaspora traditions are expressed through commerce, food, events, arts, and more.
The rebrand was inspired by a desire to fulfill the vision of the market’s founder, former Councilmember Dr. Una Clarke, the EDC said. Clarke’s vision for the market was to build an institution for Caribbean people in Flatbush through the incubation of Caribbean businesses.
Clarke said she was delighted that vendors and entrepreneurs from the community now had a permanent home, “which gives both pride and dignity to those who struggled for existence and recognition.”
“The name of the new site — Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplace — is fitting because it acknowledges the contribution that Caribbeans have made to Flatbush and East Flatbush,” she said.
“I have long dreamt of and supported the aspirations of the Caribbean people. As a civil rights leader at the forefront of the community for more than four decades, building long-standing institutions rather than promoting temporary programs in our community is of the utmost importance. Because institutions last while programs come and go."
Community stakeholders, including patrons and vendors, came up with a new logo and brand that reflects the diversity of the vibrant Caribbean cultures that influence the market, the development corporation said.
The market will introduce a new incubator program called the Mangrove accelerator, whose goal is to spur community wealth opportunities and promote the growth of new and existing small local businesses.
The EDC said the Mangrove at Flatbush Central will offer access to shared food and culinary resources, natural body care and cosmetics, media, and textile production facilities, specifically targeting BIPOC entrepreneurs to support the growth of their businesses. It will also provide technical assistance, access to capital, cohort-based business curriculum for informal and emerging businesses, as well as facilitate partnerships with larger corporate entities and institutions for business-to-business opportunities.
Rep. Yvette Clarke said the Flatbush Caton Market that her mother created more than 20 years had burgeoned into a hub where a host of Caribbean, West African and South American vendors gathered to share culture and sell their goods.
“Today, what started out as a small gathering on blankets and in tents has become an invaluable resource for all of New York, especially the Caribbean community. And my mother’s legacy to this proud and historic moment, certainly makes her the cornerstone of this new foundation,” she said.
“After decades of work, progress, and growth, the revitalization of FCM is finally complete and I am tremendously proud to witness the fruits of my mother’s love and labor be realized.”
The building at 800 Flatbush Ave. includes 16,000 square feet of space for Flatbush Central, small business incubators and offices; 5,000 square feet of supplemental community space, a Caribbean Trade Center and headquarters owned and operated by Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI); and 10,000 square feet dedicated to local retail. The intersection where the building sits was renamed in May 2021 after the late-Caribbean entrepreneur and leader Dr. Roy A. Hastick, Sr. who founded CACCI.
Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplace is open to the public Monday-Saturday from 10:00am to 7:00pm.