Yangon’s hippest bazaar

Opening in December, Urban 86 will have year round selfie appeal

Trendy markets, day and night, have become somewhat of a must-have for cities across Southeast Asia. Since the launch of the Strand Road night market less than 11 months ago, three other pop-up night-markets, all with varying degrees of selfie appeal (proof or it didn’t happen), have sprung up in Yangon. If the popularity of the first four is anything to go by, Yangon is nowhere near peak pop-up market.

That’s the thinking behind one group of entrepreneurs backing what will be the fourth addition to Yangon’s growing pop-up market scene.

Opening in December, Urban 86, located on the corner of 48th Street and Mahabandula Road downtown, will see retail shops, bars, local and international food stalls and entertainment housed all under one roof, morning till late,
all year round.

“We’re just trying to do the same style as the outdoor markets but it’s going be much more fun and trendy and in an affordable indoor environment for our consumers,” said Adam Ng, business development director of Urban 86.

With cheaper rent and more agreeable payment options for tenants, Urban 86 aims to promote local entrepreneurs and small businesses, Adam said.

“The thing is Myanmar people like new ideas and they like to buy new things. Our concept is not to make this a pop-up market in the short-term… We will have lower setup costs for stalls. The logic is simple, if operating costs are lower, that will be passed on to the consumer too.”

Rents at Urban 86 will range between K300,000 to K 800,000 per month with daily trial rents for smaller portable stalls available for students and those who want to try their hand at selling, according to Jez Li, one of the founders of Urban 86.

Affordability for punters will be key to whether Urban 86’s permanent format sinks or swims.

Ma Pwint Phyu, a former patron of BKK Night Market which runs one weekend a month at Yangon Culture Valley, says she and her friends stopped going to the market because stalls were overcharging for even the most standard items of food and drink.

“I think it’s a bit of a rip-off for customers,” she said. “Stalls were charging K3,000 for a stick of BBQ squid which costs K1,000 at street food stalls downtown and K3,000 for a soda which costs less than K1,000 at convenience store. I was surprised that people so easily purchased them without a thought.”

But perhaps with a fresh, year round format and competitive pricing, Urban 86 could become the trendy bazaar Yangon never knew it needed.

Source: Myanmar Times

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