Christopher Foster, owner at 509 Market Cafe, operates the market himself (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News).

Downtown Kelowna market fills a community need

Owner of 509 Market Cafe, Christopher Foster, says he aims to sell local products

  • Jun. 16, 2021 12:00 a.m.

A unique new business on Bernard Street is catching the eyes of Kelowna residents.

509 Market Cafe is a street market serving healthy food products made by local companies – and it’s a great spot to grab a quick lunch.

Christopher Foster, owner and operator at 509 Market Cafe, told the Capital News that the idea for this business actually came from a need to sell his own products.

In 2016, Foster started a hummus company called The Little Chickpea, based on providing gluten-free and vegan options as snacks. When COVID-19 hit, he started looking into selling his products at local farmers’ markets but soon realized it would be more difficult than he had anticipated because of vendor waitlists.

“What I decided to do was try to build a market for the people that couldn’t get into the farmers’ markets and have their stuff in a daily market in downtown Kelowna on Bernard Avenue, and in turn, it would give me the potential to sell my products,” Foster said.

509 Market Cafe carries products that are gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. Anything from freshly pressed juices, to quinoa salad and sweet potato curry, can be found by the sidewalk, all made by local businesses.

The market also has products for those without restrictions, like BBQ chicken wraps or a rustic chicken salad on sourdough bread.

“It’s funny to say, but I just started marketing my lifestyle and people are catching on,” Foster added, who eats gluten- and dairy-free food.

Foster added that he made it a conscious decision to launch a unique business that can’t be found anywhere else downtown. He said the market has been well-received and is already seeing repeat customers. They often tell him they felt there was a need for it.

“My motto has become, ‘You didn’t know you wanted this,'” he laughed.

Foster hopes to keep growing the market by expanding the product selection. “We just really love being here, so this is what we are striving to do from here on out,”he said.

509 Market Cafe is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To get involved, email Foster here.

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Kelowna Capital News


Foster aims to support B.C. and Kelowna producers (Amandalina Letterio/Contributed).

509 Market Cafe boasts healthy grab and go food items for lunch (Amandalina Letterio/Contributed).